Report on Etna (Italy) — 4 September-10 September 2019
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 September-10 September 2019
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2019. Report on Etna (Italy). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 September-10 September 2019. 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 mean amplitude of volcanic tremor at Etna had been increasing. Notably, the increase since mid-August had reached significant values by 6 September and were comparable to those values recorded just before the December 2018 eruption, and higher than those observed before the eruptive episodes during May-July 2019. Inclement weather prevented visual observations of the summit craters, though mountain guides reported characteristic sounds of Strombolian activity at the Bocca Nuova crater on 6 September. A sudden increase in volcanic tremor amplitude was recorded at 0449 on 9 September, and by 0536 Strombolian activity at Northeast Crater (NEC) was visible. At 1050 volcanic tremor amplitude again increased, with signals localized beneath NEC. Diffuse ash plumes rose from the crater and dissipated near the summit.
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.