Etna seen by MODIS on 30 Dec 2002
9 March 2004
Is this unusual effluvial activity a side effect of earthquake agitation? Were there increases in water flow or just a increases in particulate content, or both? On-scene reports/observations are welcome.
10 March 2004
13 March 2004
There is a roughly semi-circular road (whose path is about five miles in diameter) that loops around Canneto. From an armchair geographer's viewpoint, the road could be interpreted as having been laid out along a crater rim. This is quite possibly a wrong viewpoint but the author needs to find out one way or the other. Here is an extract from a topological map of Messina Province that shows the road. The road on the map is shown in red.
Topological Map of Canneto di Caronia Area
The next image allows one to examine the terrain in the Canneto area to see if anything like an old volcano crater is apparent.
Google Earth image of Canneto di Caronia area showing 200 foot elevation contour lines
The contour lines do not show an obvious crater-like character but they look as though there may be evidence of lava flows. (Still checking.) [Added 11 Sep 2013.]
17 March 2004
Nicholas Hawkins says (This may have been done already, but the author has seen no news to that effect.) that air samples should be collected at Canneto and subjected to mass spectroscopy to see what unusual gases or suspended solid particles may be present. Electrical sparks or arcs (regardless of their source) without some form of flammable fuel-air mixture, can not trigger some of the fiery events that have taken place at Canneto.
If investigators rule out suspended volcanic dust and/or other flammable particulate matter, then a gas such as Methane, which is colorless, odorless, and lighter-than-air, would be a prime suspect. Methane, or some other related gas, seeping out of the earth (from a non-shallow source) might well be considered to be seismically related.
18 March 2004
25 March 2004
The INGV-Pa article/report goes on to say: Volcanic and seismic areas are generally associated with anomalous soil gas emissions. The intensity of the emissions is not constant with time and also the spatial distribution can evolve, closely following the natural systems mentioned above. For this reason, flux variations, both in time and space, can give an important contribution into the study of volcanic and seismic phenomena.
Are soil gas emission studies being conducted at Canneto di Caronia? For the
complete INGV-Pa article see:
General information on Soil Gas Emissions(*) (In English)
[Two-sentence paragraph removed - 14 Feb 2016.]
Anomalous Sicilian Coastal Uplifting(Added 27-29 March 2004)
Sicily's eastern coast near Mt. Etna shows evidence of what might be a bulging-type uplifting, similar to that depicted in the left-hand rising magma branch in the USGS poster just mentioned. (Alternately, the eastern side of Sicily may be sliding over a big bump. If so, the bump would currently seem to be under the Mt. Etna region.)
The evidence of bulging uplifting pertains to the current elevations of Sicily's last interglacial coastline(3), called MIS 5.5. (The abbreviation "MIS" stands for Marine Isotope Stages.) At Catania, which is about 28 kilometers south-southeast of Etna's peak, the MIS 5.5 coastline has been uplifted above current day sea level by 150 meters. (This is compared to 3-4 meters uplift for the same coastline at the more-or-less stable "stand still" westernmost region of Sicily.) The referenced article is not written for laymen but there is a very informative map that shows sites of measured Sicilian coastal uplifts, and related pictures. The map and pictures follow the references.
The following maps and graphs show uplift information for the north and east shorelines of Sicily. The red and green dots on the maps correspond to where MIS 5.5 shoreline uplift measurements have been made.
The Sicily map used in these graphics is from the article, Ref. (3), just mentioned.
9 April 2004
In reviewing news reports about the fires at Canneto di Caronia the author notes two things that may be worth considering. (1) The fires are called spontaneous. (2) They seem to occur only in the presence of human activity. (One needs to be careful with the word only)
The word spontaneous evokes a picture of things happening without apparent triggers, which may or may not be the case. For fire to occur, as any well trained firefighter will tell you, you normally need three things: fuel, oxygen, and some kind of ignition mechanism.
Oxygen is pretty much a given.