The 1928 eruption of Mount Etna (Italy): Reconstructing lava flow evolution and the destruction and recovery of the town of Mascali

Branca, Stefano and De Beni, Emanuela and Chester, David K. and Duncan, Angus M. and Lotteri, Alessandra (2017) The 1928 eruption of Mount Etna (Italy): Reconstructing lava flow evolution and the destruction and recovery of the town of Mascali. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 335. pp. 54-70. ISSN 03770273 (Accepted for Publication)

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Abstract

Abstract Mount Etna in Sicily (Italy) shows more than 2,500 years of interactions between volcanic eruptions and human activity, and these are well documented in historical sources. During the last 400 years, flank eruptions have had major impacts on the urban fabric of the Etna region, especially in 1651, 1669, 1923 and 1928, and it is the last of these which is the focus of this paper. In this paper a detailed field and historical reconstruction of the 1928 eruption is presented which allows three themes to be discussed: the evolution of the flow field, lava volume and average magma discharge rate trend; the eruption's human impact, particularly the destruction of the town of Mascali; and the recovery of the region with re-construction of Mascali in a new location. Detailed mapping of lava flows allowed the following dimensions to be calculated: total area, 4.38 x 106 m2; maximum length, 9.4 km; volume, 52.91 ± 5.21 × 106m3 and an average effusion rate of 38.5 m3 s-1. Time-averaged discharged rates are calculated allowing the reconstruction of their temporal variations during the course of the eruption evidencing a high maximum effusion rate of 374 m3 s-1. These trends, in particular with regard to the Lower Fissure main phase of the eruption, are in accordance with the ‘idealized discharge model’ of Wadge (1981), proposed for basaltic eruptions driven by de-pressurization of magma sources, mainly through reservoir relaxation (i.e. elastic contraction of a magma body). The eruption took place when Italy was governed by Mussolini and the fascist party. The State response both, during and in the immediate aftermath of the eruption and in the years that followed during which Mascali was reconstructed, was impressive. This masked a less benign legacy, however, that can be traced for several subsequent decades of using responses to natural catastrophes to manufacture State prestige by reacting to, rather than planning for, disasters.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 5th February, 2017 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2017.02.002
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Geography and Environmental Science
Depositing User: David Chester
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2017 09:32
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2017 10:29
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/1858

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