Report on Etna (Italy) — 5 April-11 April 2017
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 April-11 April 2017
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2017. Report on Etna (Italy). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 April-11 April 2017. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3295 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
INGV reported that the eruptive episode that began on 15 March from a vent in the saddle between Etna's Southeast Crater (SEC) - New Southeast Crater (NSEC) cone complex was characterized by Strombolian activity and ash emissions. Lava had traveled down into the Valle del Bove from the W rim; by the afternoon of 18 March almost continuous collapses of parts of the lava flow produced several avalanches of incandescent material which reached the base of the wall. Explosive activity had greatly declined earlier that morning. The collapsing stopped by early the next evening, 19 March, and the lava reached the base of the valley. That lava flow stopped advancing on 20 March though a few lava flows closer to the vent remained active the next few days.
On 21 March a new lava flow expanded SSW, but then stopped in the last days of March at an elevation of 2,300 m. A few more lava flows had followed a similar path in early April and then also stopped at the same elevation. Around 28 March a new pit crater had formed on the S part of the pyroclastic cone which had formed around the SEC-NSEC saddle vent. Strong glow form the pit crater was observed at night.
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.