Report on Etna (Italy) — 5 December-11 December 2018
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 December-11 December 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 December-11 December 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 December 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). Strombolian explosions at the cone in NSEC became more frequent on 4 December. In addition, lava effusion became continuous with small overlapping flows traveling about 500 m down the E flank of the cone. Incandescent blocks generated by the lava flows rolled to the base of the cone, and occasional small collapses produced minor ash plumes. Strombolian activity and occasional ash emissions were characteristic of vents in the W part of Bocca Nuova’s (BN-1) crater floor. Gas emissions at Voragine Crater continued from a vent on the E rim of the crater, and Strombolian explosions were evident at NEC.
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.