Expedition RV METEOR M178 - HazELNUT

Hazards off Etna: Landslide Nucleation under Tremor

Mt Etna, Europe’s largest active Volcano, is located directly at the Sicilian coastline of the Ionian Sea. Over the past 3 years, the volcanic activity manifested impressively during Christmas 2018 and February 2021 paroxysms and earthquake activities. Next to frequent Strombolian eruptions, Etna’s south-eastern flank slides seawards at rates of several centimetres per year. Over the past decade, Kiel scientist intensively studied the submerged sector of the volcano and its continental margin. Findings show that the well-known flank instability is proceeding far into the sea and measurable by marine geodetic networks. Nevertheless, the relation between volcanic activity, and deformation of the continental margin is still unclear and scenarios from small-scale disintegration over geological time periods to scenarios of abrupt catastrophic failures have been drawn. This HazELNUT project and the M178 Meteor cruise examines how the large-scale instability and Mt Etna’s recent activity re-shaped the continental margin in the course of the last ten years. To achieve this, the continental margin off Mt Etna will be revisited using geological and geophysical methods in order to analyze changes by means of repeated mapping and sampling. The results of this project increases our understanding of how landslides nucleate in extremely active settings like offshore Mt Etna. In addition, the findings will be used to better assess the hazard potential of the sliding flank of the giant volcano.

Photo: Felix Gross


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)


2021 – 2022


Dr. Felix Gross