increased the danger to the population

The Civil Protection Department has ordered the transition to “yellow” alert level for the island of Vulcano.

In agreement with the civil protection structure of the Sicilian Region and with the unanimous opinion of the Commission for the prediction and prevention of major risks, the Department has assessed that the significant variations of different parameters of volcanic monitoring, detected in recent weeks by the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology-INGV and the Institute for Electromagnetic Detection of the Environment CNR-IREA, require some additional measures and initiatives for risk management on the island.

In particular, the “yellow” alert level determines, among other things, the strengthening of volcanic monitoring and surveillance activities (also with the possible involvement of other centers of expertise in addition to INGV and CNR-IREA that ordinarily deal with it), a constant information link between the scientific community and the other components and operational structures of the National Civil Protection Service, the updating of civil protection plans, a widespread information activity to the resident population on the island and to tourists, with specific reference to raising the level of risk. The civil protection structures of the Sicilian Regional Authority and the Municipality of Lipari have already been activated in this sense to take all the necessary initiatives.

Thanks to the efficient integration of the scientific community into the civil protection system, today we can count on volcanic monitoring and surveillance systems that allow us to closely follow the evolution of our active volcanoes “, declares Fabrizio Curcio, Head of the Civil Protection Department. “And that’s what we’re doing on Vulcan. With the “yellow” alert level (which can be followed by orange and red or the return to the ordinary “green” level) it is very important that there is full awareness of the risk, without alarmism, but with great responsibility. “

The island of Vulcano already ordinarily presents a widespread situation of risk for the population connected above all to fumaroles rich in gas and with high temperatures, but at this stage it must be remembered that they can intensify and extend over larger areas and therefore the danger is greater. Any further significant changes in the situation will be promptly communicated.

What happens on Vulcano?

During the summer, and in particular starting from September, the monitoring systems of the INGV highlighted the variation of some geophysical and geochemical signals registered in Vulcano (Aeolian Islands), especially those related to the activity of hydrothermal system that feeds the fumaroles of the crater della Fossa “, INGV explains in an article published on the INGVvulcani blog. “In particular, the temperature of the gases emitted by the fumaroles on the crater rim has increased and the gas composition shows an increase in CO2 e SO2 (carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide). The local micro-seismicity linked to the dynamics of the fumarolic system has also shown an increase in the last few weeks ”.

“All the information relating to the surveillance and monitoring that the INGV carries out on the Island of Vulcano are promptly transmitted by the Etneo Observatory and the Palermo Section to Department of Civil Protection and to all Competent authorities, according to agreed procedures, for the assessments of the case. INGV is taking care of the strengthening of monitoring and surveillance networks existing to better follow the evolution of this situation.

These days, the Etneo Observatory has installed new seismic stations to integrate those existing on the island, also preparing the implementation of one thermal camera framing the fumarolic area of ​​the crater. Furthermore, for about two months the Palermo section of the INGV has activated 4 new stations in the inhabited area of ​​Vulcano Porto for the measure of flow of CO2 from the ground and of concentration of CO2 in aria.

Further surveys and measurement campaigns are planned for the next few weeks. In particular, the annual GPS measurement campaign between the islands of Vulcano and Lipari will be carried out in mid-October, with particular detail in the area of ​​the cone of the Fossa, which will allow a better assessment of the dynamics in progress.

Based on the changes described above, the Department of Civil Protection has ordered the passage of the alert level from Green to Yellow for the Island of Vulcano “, concludes the INGV.

The photo, taken on 29 September 2021, shows the crater of the Fossa di Vulcano with the volutes of gas released by the fumaroles. Photo by Marco Anzidei

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