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Although ~50 radiometric age analyses have been performed on Etna, and there are many historical references, these are not enough to temporally constrain the geological evolution of the volcano. In particular, a new stratigraphic framework based on lithostratigraphic and unconformity-bounded units has pointed out the presence of some stratigraphic uncertainty that can be resolved only with radiometric dating. For this reason, a dating project applying the 40Ar/39Ar incremental heating technique started in 2002. The results obtained improve our understanding and provide constraints for Etna's geological evolution; in addition, they show that the applied technique is very useful for dating young basalts and quantifying the hiatus represented by unconformities, as well as for understanding their meaning.

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