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Mafic magma feeds degassing unrest at Vulcano Island, Italy

  • Authors: Aiuppa A.; Bitetto M.; Calabrese S.; Delle Donne D.; Nogueira Lages J.; La Monica F.P.; Chiodini G.; Tamburello G.; Cotterill A.; Fulignati P.; Gioncada A.; Liu E.J.; Moretti R.; Pistolesi M.
  • Publication year: 2022
  • Type: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


The benign fuming activity of dormant volcanoes is punctuated by phases of escalating degassing activity that, on some occasions, ultimately prelude to eruption. However, understanding the drivers of such unrest is complicated by complex interplay between magmatic and hydrothermal processes. Some of the most comprehensively characterised degassing unrest have recently been observed at La Fossa cone on Vulcano Island, but whether or not these episodes involve new, volatile-rich ascending magma remains debated. Here, we use volcanic gas measurements, in combination with melt inclusion information, to propose that heightened sulphur dioxide flux during the intense fall 2021 La Fossa unrest is sourced by degassing of volatile-rich mafic magma. Calculations using a numerical model indicate observations are consistent with the unrest being triggered by the emplacement of ∼3·106 m3 of mafic magma at ∼4–5 km depth. Degassing of mafic magma is argued as a recurrent driver of unrest at dormant volcanoes worldwide.