Major eruptive style changes induced by structural modifications of a shallow conduit system: the 2007–2012 Stromboli case

Research paper by S. Calvari, A. Bonaccorso, P. Madonia, M. Neri, M. Liuzzo, G. G. Salerno, B. Behncke, T. Caltabiano, A. Cristaldi, G. Giuffrida, A. La Spina, E. Marotta, T. Ricci, L. Spampinato

Indexed on: 20 Jun '14Published on: 20 Jun '14Published in: Bulletin of Volcanology


Stromboli is known for its mild, persistent explosive activity from the vents located within the summit crater depression at the uppermost part of the Sciara del Fuoco (SdF) depression. Effusive activity (lava flows) at this volcano normally occurs every 5–15 years, involving often the opening of eruptive fissures along the SdF, and more rarely overflows from the summit crater. Between the end of the 2007 effusive eruption and December 2012, the number of lava flows inside and outside the crater depression has increased significantly, reaching a total of 28, with an average of 4.8 episodes per year. An open question is why this activity has become so frequent during the last 6 years and was quite rare before. In this paper, we describe this exceptional activity and propose an interpretation based on the structural state of the volcano, changed after the 2002–2003 and even more after the 2007 flank effusive eruption. We use images from the Stromboli fixed cameras network, as well as ground photos, plume SO2 and CO2 fluxes released by the summit crater, and continuous fumarole temperature recording, to unravel the interplay between magma supply, structural and morphology changes, and lava flow output. Our results might help forecast the future behaviour and hazard at Stromboli and might be applicable to other open-conduit volcanoes.