Report on Etna (Italy) — 6 November-12 November 2002
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 November-12 November 2002
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2002. Report on Etna (Italy). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 November-12 November 2002. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3295 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
An eruption began at Etna on 27 October. According to a report from INGV-CT, the lava supply from Etna's main vents ended by 3 November. At that time lava flows were no longer emitted from the volcano's S and N flanks. As of the 11th, fire fountaining continued from the S vent at 2,750 m elevation, near Torre del Filosofo. All data (gas emission, volcanic tremor, composition of the ash) suggest a steady state at this vent. Ash fallout caused intermittent disruption at the Catania airport and damage to buildings. The Toulouse VAAC reported that moderate-to-severe ash emissions had occurred since the eruption began. During 6-12 November ash clouds rose to a maximum height of ~6.1 km a.s.l.
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.