Report on Etna (Italy) — July 1995
Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 20, no. 7 (July 1995)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.
Etna (Italy) Gas-and-ash explosions followed by sustained Strombolian activity in late July
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 1995. Report on Etna (Italy). In: Wunderman, R (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 20:7. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199507-211060.
37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3295 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Eruptive activity from Etna's summit craters continued in July. Sustained Strombolian activity resumed in Bocca Nuova vent on 29 July. Details will be provided next month.
At Bocca Nuova crater, a degassing vent in the N part of the crater floor produced very frequent gas explosions followed by collapses inside the vent, and then by red ash emissions. Ash emissions started on the morning of 25 July, and ash formed a thick carpet inside the crater. Ash plumes rose ~100 m above the crater rim and caused ashfall on the W flank. A small percentage of juvenile material was identified in the ash. Another vent at the SE margin of the crater floor produced only gas explosions with no ash. The interior of Bocca Nuova had vertical walls and a nearly flat zone in the SE part of the floor, ~100 m below the crater rim, that gently sloped NW. The flat zone occupied 40% of the crater floor, the remaining part being covered by collapse debris. The inner part of the collapsed zone had sub-vertical walls and a floor sloping NE.
In the SW corner of the Northeast Crater floor a vent produced strong gas emissions with occasional inner collapses and red ash expulsions. Samples of ash showed an increase in juvenile component compared to May. Northeast Crater was pit-shaped, with sub-vertical inner walls covered by red ash. The floor was ~150 m deep and had a step oriented NE-SW, which separated the flat zone of the NW sector, gently sloping SE, from the SE portion sloping SW. Activity at the funnel-shaped Voragine (Chasm) consisted of continuous, weak gas emission from the central vent with neither explosions nor ash emissions. Southeast Crater produced only a weak degassing activity.
Geologic Background. Mount Etna, towering above Catania, Sicily's second largest city, has one of the world's longest documented records of historical volcanism, dating back to 1500 BCE. Historical lava flows of basaltic composition cover much of the surface of this massive volcano, whose edifice is the highest and most voluminous in Italy. The Mongibello stratovolcano, truncated by several small calderas, was constructed during the late Pleistocene and Holocene over an older shield volcano. The most prominent morphological feature of Etna is the Valle del Bove, a 5 x 10 km horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the east. Two styles of eruptive activity typically occur, sometimes simultaneously. Persistent explosive eruptions, sometimes with minor lava emissions, take place from one or more summit craters. Flank vents, typically with higher effusion rates, are less frequently active and originate from fissures that open progressively downward from near the summit (usually accompanied by Strombolian eruptions at the upper end). Cinder cones are commonly constructed over the vents of lower-flank lava flows. Lava flows extend to the foot of the volcano on all sides and have reached the sea over a broad area on the SE flank.
Information Contacts: Sonia Calvari, Istituto Internazionale di Vulcanologia, Piazza Roma 2, I-95123 Catania.