Report on Etna (Italy) — 17 October-23 October 2018
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 17 October-23 October 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, 17 October-23 October 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 15-21 October activity at Etna was characterized by gas emissions at the summit craters, with periodic Strombolian activity from vents in Bocca Nuova, Northeast Crater (NEC), Southeast Crater (SEC), and New Southeast Crater (NSEC). Strombolian activity at the N vent in the W part of Bocca Nuova’s (BN-1) crater floor ejected incandescent material higher that the crater rim. Spattering from the southernmost vent was also visible. Gas emissions increased at Voragine Crater from a vent that formed on 7 August 2016 on the E rim of the crater, and the crater continued to gradually widen and deepen. NEC activity was characterized by gas emissions and explosive activity of variable frequency and intensity. Fumarolic plumes rose from the rim and crater walls of NSEC and SEC. The E vent in NSEC produced Strombolian explosions and ash emissions which rapidly dispersed.
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.