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Report on Etna (Italy) — 16 May-22 May 2001


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
16 May-22 May 2001
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2001. Report on Etna (Italy). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 16 May-22 May 2001. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (16 May-22 May 2001)



37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3357 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

According to the Italy's Volcanoes website, mild eruptive activity continued at Southeast Crater, with persistent lava outflow from a vent on the NNE flank of its cone. Very weak Strombolian bursts occurred at the summit vent of the cone that occasionally sent incandescent bombs up to 100 m above the crater rim.

A Spanish tourist who visited the volcano alone has been missing since 14 May and is presumed dead. The remains of her tent were found on 18 May near the rim of Bocca Nuova crater. Local press sources reported that a rescue team found footprints leading from the tent to the rim of one of the two active pits within the crater, but no prints were found leading back from the pit. It is possible that the tourist was standing on the rim of the pit when a portion of it broke loose.

Geological Summary. Mount Etna, towering above Catania on the island of Sicily, has one of the world's longest documented records of 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 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.

Source: Italy's Volcanoes