Report on Etna (Italy) — 22 August-28 August 2018
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 August-28 August 2018
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2018. Report on Etna (Italy). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 August-28 August 2018. 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 during 20-26 August activity at Etna was characterized by gas emissions at the summit craters, Strombolian activity, and ash emissions. Strombolian explosions continued from vents in Bocca Nuova (including from a vent that had opened on 16 August) and Northeast Crater (NEC). Activity at New Southeast Crater (NSEC) was characterized by modest and occasional explosions and Strombolian activity. Beginning at 1700 on 23 August Strombolian activity from the cone in the saddle between the Southeast Crater (SEC) and NSEC cone complex rapidly intensified; explosions ejected tephra 100-150 m above the vent rim. At 1730 Strombolian activity occurred at NSEC’s E vent, and a lava flow from the same vent traveled a few hundred meters towards the Valle del Bove. Just after 1730 lava overflowed the vent in the saddle cone and flowed N; Strombolian activity at that vent continued through the night and then stopped no later than 0620 on 24 August. At 0622 Strombolian activity from a vent on the S flank of NSEC produced a small lava flow that traveled a few dozen meters. During 25-26 August the activity at the saddle cone gradually decreased, and ash emissions were weak and occasional.
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.