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, 368 (1919), 2559-77

Climate Forcing of Volcano Lateral Collapse: Evidence From Mount Etna, Sicily

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Climate Forcing of Volcano Lateral Collapse: Evidence From Mount Etna, Sicily

K R Deeming et al. Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci.

Abstract

In this study, we present evidence for early Holocene climatic conditions providing circumstances favourable to major lateral collapse at Mount Etna, Sicily. The volcano's most notable topographic feature is the Valle del Bove, a 5 x 8 km cliff-bounded amphitheatre excavated from the eastern flank of the volcano. Its origin due to prehistoric lateral collapse is corroborated by stürtzstrom deposits adjacent to the amphitheatre's downslope outlet, but the age, nature and cause of amphitheatre excavation remain matters for debate. Cosmogenic (3)He exposure ages determined for eroded surfaces within an abandoned watershed flanking the Valle del Bove support channel abandonment ca 7.5 ka BP, as a consequence of its excavation in a catastrophic collapse event. Watershed development was largely dictated by pluvial conditions during the early Holocene, which are also implicated in slope failure. A viable trigger is magma emplacement into rift zones in the eastern flank of a water-saturated edifice, leading to the development of excess pore pressures, consequent reduction in sliding resistance, detachment and collapse. Such a mechanism is presented as one potential driver of future lateral collapse in volcanic landscapes forecast to experience increased precipitation or melting of ice cover as a consequence of anthropogenic warming.

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