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ERS SAR PS analysis provides new insights on the long-term evolution of Mt. Etna volcano

Giuseppe Puglisi(1) and Mauro Coltelli(1)

(1) Ist. Naz. Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Piazza Roma, 2, 95123 Catania, Italy


During the last decades several papers have highlighted the role of new features of the structure and the dynamic of Mt. Etna. These researches have shown the existence of a large high-velocity body and the absence of large magma chambers in the upper crust beneath Mt. Etna. They also documented the relatively continuous and fast eastward motion of the eastern flank along several NNW-SSE and E-W fault systems located to the south and the north of the moving eastern flank. However, owing to the lack of a global view of the volcano's deformation, no global model merging all observations has been proposed so far. SAR data collected on Etna during the ERS missions were largely exploited for ground deformation studies of this volcano, by using differential interferometry technique, and provided several new perspectives in volcanology. However, the unfavorable conditions for SAR applications on the eastern flank of Mt. Etna (forest, cultivation, atmospheric turbulence, etc.) prevented assessing the temporal and spatial evolution of the deformation. The new SAR interferometry Permanent Scatterer (PS) technique allows for the first time to know globally how Etna deformed between 1993 and 1998. This new data permits a major step forward in understanding how and why Etna deforms. We propose a unique geodynamic scenario to explain the eastward movement, the absence of large magma chambers, and generally the current evolution of Mt. Etna.


Full paper

Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry