Soil-temperature measurements can provide information on the distribution of degassing fissures, their relationship to the internal structure of the volcano, and the temporal evolution of the system. At Vulcano Island (Italy), heat flux from a <3 km-deep magma body drives a hydrothermal system which extends across the main Fossa crater. This heat flux is also associated with variable magmatic gas flow. A high-density map of soil-temperatures was made in 1996 at a constant depth of 30 cm on the central and southern inner flanks of the Fossa crater. These measurements extended over an area covering about 0.04 km(2), across which the heat flux is predominantly associated with a shallow boiling aquifer. The map shows that hot zones relate to structures of higher permeability, mainly associated with a fissure system dating from the last eruptive cycle (1888-1890). From 1996 to January 2005, we studied the evolution of the heat flux for the high temperature part of the map, both by repeating our measurements as part of 14 visits, during which temperatures were measured at a constant depth, and using data from permanent stations which allowed soil-temperatures to be continuously measured for selected vertical profiles. These data allowed us to calculate the heat flux, and its variation, with good precision for values lower than about 100 W m(-2), which is generally the case in the study area. Above 100 W m(-2), although the heat flux value is underestimated, its variations are recorded with an error less than 10%. During the period 1996-2004, two increases in the thermal flux were recorded. The first one was related to the seismic crisis of November 1998 which opened existing or new fissures. The second, in November 2004, was probably due to magma migration, and was associated with minor seismic activity.