Coppola, D; Piscopo, D; Laiolo, M; Cigolini, C; Delle Donne, D; Ripepe, M (2012). Radiative heat power at Stromboli volcano during 2000-2011: Twelve years of MODIS observations. JOURNAL OF VOLCANOLOGY AND GEOTHERMAL RESEARCH, 215, 48-60.
Twelve years of night-time MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) observations, has been analysed to detect and quantify the radiative heat power emitted by Stromboli volcano (from March 2000 to September 2011). Using an accurate background subtraction of the MODIS signal at 4 pm, we were able to discriminate two main regimes of thermal radiation, related to different levels of volcanic activity. Effusive eruptions (occurred on December 28, 2002 and February 27, 2007) radiated at an average of similar to 186 MW with a frequency of alert detection of 50-95%. Conversely, during the typical strombolian activity, an average of similar to 9 MW is radiated, with a frequency of alert detection of 0-45%. Although during the effusive eruptions the radiative power is basically controlled by the lava discharge rate, our results suggest that during non-effusive periods (strombolian regime) both the intensity and the frequency of MODIS alerts are controlled by the height of the magmatic column feeding the activity at the surface. In particular we found that a radiative power of similar to 50 MW corresponds to a high magma column which is exposed, in the vent area, at the same rate in which the deeper gas-rich magma is typically supplied within the feeding system of Stromboli (similar to 0.3 m(3) s(-1)). In this condition the magmatic system approaches steady state regimes. Above this threshold a transition from strombolian to effusive regimes may occur as shown by the detection of similar to 50 MW, 8-10 days before the onset of both the last two major flank eruptions. These values were reached after 1-2 months of gradual increase of the radiative power which was likely associated the rising of the magma column within the shallowest portion of the conduit. In addition our data suggest that over the years 2000-2011 several cycles of rise and fall of the magma column have occurred, which however did not culminate into an effusive eruption but only into recurrent episodes of sustained spattering or fountaining and summit overflows. These fluctuations has substantially increased in frequency and intensity after the 2007 eruption thus suggesting that this event has perturbed in some way the shallow plumbing system of Stromboli. We stress that the detection of a radiative power higher than 50 MW is a clear evidence of a very high magma column, which may prelude the onset of an effusive eruption and/or periods of sustained vent activity. In conclusion, we suggest that systematic analysis of MODIS data can be used to detect variations in the intensity of strombolian activity and may considerably improve volcano surveillance at Stromboli, as well as at other open-system volcanoes. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.