Seismic data from the MVT-SLN sesmic station located 7 km from the summit area of Mt Etna volcano, which has been operating steadily for the last two decades, have been analysed together with the volcanic activity during the same period. Cross-correlation techniques are used to investigate possible relationships between seismic and volcanic data and to evaluate the statistical significance of the results. A number of significant correlations have been identified, showing that there is an evident relation between seismic events and flank eruptions, and a less clear relation with summit activity, which appears more linked to tremor rather than to the low-frequency events. Particularly interesting are the low-frequency events whose rate of occurrence increases, starting from 17 to 108 days, prior to the onset of the flank activity and are candidates for a useful precursor. On the other hand, a tendency towards the increase in both the duration and the occurrence rate of transients in the volcanic tremor was observed before the onset of summit eruptions. As a result of this study different stages in the volcanic activity of Mt Etna, represented by changes in the characteristics of the recorded seismic phenomena, are identified. © 1993 Springer-Verlag.
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