A numerical approach is proposed to evaluate stress and deformation fields induced by hydrothermal fluid circulation and its influence on volcano-flank stability. The numerical computations have been focused on a conceptual model of Vulcano Island, where geophysical, geochemical, and seismic signals have experienced several episodes of remarkable changes likely linked to the hydrothermal activity. We design a range of numerical models of hydrothermal unrest and computed the associated deformation and stress field arising from rock-fluid interaction processes related to the thermo-poroelastic response of the medium. The effects of model parameters on deformation and flank stability are explored considering different multilayered crustal structures constrained by seismic tomography and stratigraphy investigations. Our findings highlight the significant role of model parameters on the response of the hydrothermal system and, consequently, on the amplitudes and the timescale of stress and strain fields. Even if no claim is made that the model strictly applies to the crisis episodes at Vulcano, the numerical results are in general agreement with the pattern of monitoring observations, characterized by an enhancing of gas emission and seismic activity without significant ground deformation. The conceptual model points to a pressurization and heating of the shallow hydrothermal system (1-0.25 km bsl) fed by fluid of magmatic origin. However, for the assumed values of model material and source parameters (rate of injection, fluid composition, and temperature), the pressure and temperature changes do not affect significantly the flank stability, which is mainly controlled by the gravitational force.

Effects of hydrothermal unrest on stress and deformation: insights from numerical modeling and application to Vulcano Island (Italy)

Gilda Currenti;Armando Coco;Emanuela Privitera
2017

Abstract

A numerical approach is proposed to evaluate stress and deformation fields induced by hydrothermal fluid circulation and its influence on volcano-flank stability. The numerical computations have been focused on a conceptual model of Vulcano Island, where geophysical, geochemical, and seismic signals have experienced several episodes of remarkable changes likely linked to the hydrothermal activity. We design a range of numerical models of hydrothermal unrest and computed the associated deformation and stress field arising from rock-fluid interaction processes related to the thermo-poroelastic response of the medium. The effects of model parameters on deformation and flank stability are explored considering different multilayered crustal structures constrained by seismic tomography and stratigraphy investigations. Our findings highlight the significant role of model parameters on the response of the hydrothermal system and, consequently, on the amplitudes and the timescale of stress and strain fields. Even if no claim is made that the model strictly applies to the crisis episodes at Vulcano, the numerical results are in general agreement with the pattern of monitoring observations, characterized by an enhancing of gas emission and seismic activity without significant ground deformation. The conceptual model points to a pressurization and heating of the shallow hydrothermal system (1-0.25 km bsl) fed by fluid of magmatic origin. However, for the assumed values of model material and source parameters (rate of injection, fluid composition, and temperature), the pressure and temperature changes do not affect significantly the flank stability, which is mainly controlled by the gravitational force.
Hydrothermal circulation
Numerical modeling
Thermo-poroelasticity
Volcano flank instability
Vulcano Island
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/541601
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