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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-369
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-369
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  13 Nov 2020

13 Nov 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

The mud volcanoes at Santa Barbara and Aragona (Sicily, Italy): Their potential hazards for a correct risk assessment

Alessandro Gattuso1, Francesco Italiano1, Capasso Giorgio1, Antonino D'Alessandro2, Fausto Grassa1, Antonino Fabio Pisciotta1, and Davide Romano1,3 Alessandro Gattuso et al.
  • 1Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Palermo, via Ugo La Malfa 153, 90146, Palermo Italy
  • 2Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Osservatorio Nazionale Terremoti, Via Vigna Murata 605, 00143 Roma Italy
  • 3Dipartimento di Scienze Matematiche e Informatiche, Scienze Fisiche e Scienze della Terra (MIFT), Università di Messina, Viale Stagno D’Alcontres, 98166 Messina, Italy

Abstract. The Santa Barbara and Aragona areas are affected by mud volcanism (MV) phenomena, consisting of continuous or intermittent emission of mud, water and gases. This activity could be interrupted by paroxysmal events, with an eruptive column composed mainly of clay material, water and gases. They are the most hazardous phenomena and, nowadays, it is impossible to define the potential parameters for modeling the phenomenon. In 2017, two DSM were performed by drone in both areas, thus allowing the mapping of the emission zones and the covered areas by the previous events. Detailed information about past paroxysms was obtained from historical sources and, with the analysis of the 2017 DSMs, a preliminary hazard assessment was carried out, for the first time at two sites. Two potentially hazardous paroxysm surfaces of 0.12 km2 and 0.20 km2 for Santa Barbara and Aragona respectively, were defined. In May 2020, at Aragona, a new paroxysm covered a surface of 8,721 m2. After this, a new detailed DSM was collected with the aim to make a comparison with 2017 one. Since 2017, a seismic station was installed at Santa Barbara. From preliminary results, both seismic events and ambient noise showed a frequency of 5–10 Hz.

Alessandro Gattuso et al.

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Alessandro Gattuso et al.

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Short summary
Santa Barbara and Aragona areas are affected by mud volcanism with episodic hazardous paroxysm events. Two potentially hazardous paroxysm exposed surfaces of 0.12 km2 and 0.20 km2 respectively were elaborated with the aim of DSMs and with historical information due to the paroxysms occurred in the past. This paper, in the end, could be a useful tool for Civil Protection Authorities in order to take the appropriate risk mitigation measurements for the exposed people and for monitoring activities.
Santa Barbara and Aragona areas are affected by mud volcanism with episodic hazardous paroxysm...
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