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Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 16;7(1):8434. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-07496-y.

The 3-D structure of the Somma-Vesuvius volcanic complex (Italy) inferred from new and historic gravimetric data.

Author information

1
Applied and Environmental Geophysics Group, Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Lausanne, Géopolis, 1015, Lausanne, Switzerland. niklas.linde@unil.ch.
2
Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Via di Vigna Murata 605, 00143, Rome, Italy.
3
Applied and Environmental Geophysics Group, Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Lausanne, Géopolis, 1015, Lausanne, Switzerland.
4
Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Osservatorio Vesuviano, Via Diocleziano 328, 80124, Naples, Italy.

Abstract

Existing 3-D density models of the Somma-Vesuvius volcanic complex (SVVC), Italy, largely disagree. Despite the scientific and socioeconomic importance of Vesuvius, there is no reliable 3-D density model of the SVVC. A considerable uncertainty prevails concerning the presence (or absence) of a dense body underlying the Vesuvius crater (1944 eruption) that is implied from extensive seismic investigations. We have acquired relative gravity measurements at 297 stations, including measurements in difficult-to-access areas (e.g., the first-ever measurements in the crater). In agreement with seismic investigations, the simultaneous inversion of these and historic data resolves a high-density body that extends from the surface of the Vesuvius crater down to depths that exceed 2 km. A 1.5-km radius horseshoe-shaped dense feature (open in the southwestern sector) enforces the existing model of groundwater circulation within the SVVC. Based on its volcano-tectonic evolution, we interpret volcanic structures that have never been imaged before.

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