Report on Etna (Italy) — September 1978
Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 3, no. 9 (September 1978)
Managing Editor: David Squires.
Etna (Italy) SE flank eruption ends; occasional central crater explosions continue
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 1978. Report on Etna (Italy). In: Squires, D. (ed.), Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 3:9. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN197809-211060.
37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3295 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
The SE flank eruption ended on the morning of 30 August. Activity since then has been confined to occasional explosions from Bocca Nuova. Two distinct sets of fissures formed during the eruption. The active vents trended NE-SW, parallel to the 1971 vents. No lava was extruded from the second set, which trended N-S. Fault throws of up to 3 m were observed.
Further Reference. Mackey, M., and Scott, S.C., 1980, The eruption of Mt. Etna in August 1978, in Huntingdon, E.T., and others, eds., 1980, U.K. Research on Mt. Etna; Royal Society of London, p. 43-44.
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: J. Guest, Univ. of London.