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Report on Etna (Italy) — May 1993


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 18, no. 5 (May 1993)
Managing Editor: Edward Venzke.

Etna (Italy) Steady degassing continues; seismic swarm

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1993. Report on Etna (Italy) (Venzke, E., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 18:5. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199305-211060



37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3320 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Following the recent eruption's end in March, steady degassing was observed in May from all of the summit craters except Northeast Crater, which remained obstructed by debris in the bottom. Seismicity increased from two volcano-tectonic events in April (18:04) to 23 in May (M 1-3.2). Most of the events occurred between 1206 and 2039 on 24 May. At the same time, an earthquake swarm with 21 discrete events occurred below the NNW flank of the volcano at 13-26 km depth. The number of long-period events also increased compared to the last two months, but tremor amplitude and frequency were unchanged. Inflation was detected at one shallow bore-hole tilt station, but no other tilt variations were recorded.

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.

Information Contacts: IIV.