Report on Etna (Italy) — November 1977
Natural Science Event Bulletin, vol. 2, no. 11 (November 1977)
Managing Editor: David Squires.
Etna (Italy) Eruption from the NE crater, the fourth since mid-July
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 1977. Report on Etna (Italy) (Squires, D., ed.). Natural Science Event Bulletin, 2:11. Smithsonian Institution.
37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3320 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Etna's fourth eruption since mid-July began during the night of 2 November from the Northeast Crater Cone, site of the three previous events. Two lava flows were extruded, but (in contrast to the earlier events) explosive activity was very weak. The larger flow traveled 2.5 km NW from the vent and the smaller 1 km to the N, before the eruption ended about noon on 4 November.
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.
Information Contacts: R. Romano, IIV; J. Guest, Univ. of London.