Report on Etna (Italy) — 21 November-27 November 2012
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 21 November-27 November 2012
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2012. Report on Etna (Italy). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 21 November-27 November 2012. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3295 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo reported that on the evening of 21 November, weak glow was observed coming from within Etna's New Southeast Crater, caused either by the emission of high-temperature gas and/or Strombolian activity. Incandescence was also visible during the following nights, but was weak and intermittent.
A seismic swarm, consisting of around seventy events, occurred below the NW flank on 22 November, with epicenters located in the area of Monte Maletto. During a field visit to the summit area on the morning of 23 November, scientists did not hear sounds typically associated with Strombolian activity. In addition, volcanic-tremor amplitude did not show any significant variations.
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.