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Report on Stromboli (Italy) — March 1989


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 14, no. 3 (March 1989)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Stromboli (Italy) Brief stronger explosions; one tourist injured

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1989. Report on Stromboli (Italy) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 14:3. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198903-211040



38.789°N, 15.213°E; summit elev. 924 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

A series of explosions occurred in Stromboli's summit craters [26] March at [0927]. The explosions lasted a few minutes and were significantly more intense than the volcano's regular intermittent activity. Ejecta consisted of fluid bombs, blocks, and ash that were scattered within a few hundred meters of the vents. Tourists observing the volcano nearby were hit by the shower of tephra. No one was directly injured by the fallout, but a girl fell and broke her arm when panic caused a rush towards the village.

According to numerous eyewitnesses, the explosions began without premonitory activity. Seismic records from the Ginostra station (1.8 km from the crater) recorded no significant variation before or after the event. However, a slight increase in volcanic tremor amplitude and energy of seismic shocks was observed a few days before the explosions by a portable seismograph operating on the N flank (1.5 km from the vents). The rate of gas emission and frequency of explosions gradually returned to a normal level in the following days.

Further Reference. Falsaperla, S., Montalto, A., and Spampinato, S., 1989, Analysis of seismic data concerning explosive sequences on Stromboli volcano in 1989: Bolletino del Gruppo Nazionale per la Vulcanologia, 1989-1, p. 249-258.

Geological Summary. Spectacular incandescent nighttime explosions at Stromboli have long attracted visitors to the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean" in the NE Aeolian Islands. This volcano has lent its name to the frequent mild explosive activity that has characterized its eruptions throughout much of historical time. The small island is the emergent summit of a volcano that grew in two main eruptive cycles, the last of which formed the western portion of the island. The Neostromboli eruptive period took place between about 13,000 and 5,000 years ago. The active summit vents are located at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a prominent scarp that formed about 5,000 years ago due to a series of slope failures which extends to below sea level. The modern volcano has been constructed within this scarp, which funnels pyroclastic ejecta and lava flows to the NW. Essentially continuous mild Strombolian explosions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded for more than a millennium.

Information Contacts: S. Falsaperla, G. Frazzetta, and E. Privitera, IIV; M. Rosi, Univ di Pisa.