Report on Etna (Italy) — 5 September-11 September 2018
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 September-11 September 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, 5 September-11 September 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 3-9 September activity at Etna was characterized by gas emissions at the summit craters, with periodic Strombolian activity from vents in Bocca Nuova, Northeast Crater (NEC), and New Southeast Crater (NSEC). A few Strombolian explosions at NSEC were recorded on 5 September; an explosion at 0536 generated an ash plume that produced local ashfall around the vent and in the Valle del Bove, and quickly dispersed. A similar but less intense event occurred earlier that day, at 0316. Similar Strombolian events continued during 6-9 September, at intervals of a few hours. Strombolian activity at the N vent (BN-1) in Bocca Nuova occurred at 3-5-minute intervals, ejecting incandescent material that fell within the crater confines. Gas emissions were sometimes punctuated with ash emissions. Intense degassing was characteristic of the second vent (BN-2). Strombolian activity occurred at NEC, and a few times explosions were accompanied by ash emissions.
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.