Report on Etna (Italy) — 26 May-1 June 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
26 May-1 June 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Etna (Italy). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 26 May-1 June 2021. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3320 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
INGV reported almost daily episodes of Strombolian activity at Etna’s Southeast Crater (SEC) during 24-30 May continued the recent pattern of Strombolian explosions followed by lava flows to the SW and occasional lava fountains. Ash plumes were visible most days, rising to a maximum of 7 km (23,000 ft) a.s.l. Tephra was collected in Milo (10 km E) on 26 May and in Petrulli (12 km SE) on 30 May.
The first episode of the week began at 2100 on 24 May, intensified during 2235-2345, and ended at 0010 on 25 May. Ash emissions at SEC began 1020 on 25 May, producing a plume that rose to 4 km (13,100 ft) a.s.l. and drifted ENE. Explosions were recorded at 1820 and within 30 minutes Strombolian activity was visible. Activity intensified during 2025-2100 and ended at 2215. Two eruptive episodes were recorded on 26 May, with peaks at 0350 and 1300. An eruptive episode on 27 May was not visually well-documented due to inclement weather, though it reportedly intensified at 1450. Tephra fell in Giarre (17 km ESE), Milo, and Fornazzo (10 km ESE). Another episode began around 0830 on 28 May, intensified around 0900, and then ended at 0930; ashfall was reported in Giarre. Two more eruptive events were recorded that day: during 1740-1815 and a more powerful one during 2115-2305. The last episode of the week began at 0545 on 30 May and lasted for two hours.
Geological Summary. 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.