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Report on Etna (Italy) — December 1982


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 7, no. 12 (December 1982)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Etna (Italy) Incandescent tephra from central crater

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1982. Report on Etna (Italy) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 7:12. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198212-211060



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Explosive activity of varying intensity continued through early January from the floor of Bocca Nuova. Large ash emissions were sometimes observed. During the night of 24-25 December, intense explosions ejected incandescent tephra. Most of the tephra fell back within the crater, but some was deposited outside the crater rim.

Press sources reported emission of large quantities of gray and white "smoke" from the Northeast Crater but Romolo Romano noted that the Northeast Crater activity was fumarolic and no ash was ejected. The Northeast Crater last erupted in February 1981, producing a lava flow and ash (06:02).

Further Reference. Scarpa, R., Patane, G., and Lombardo, G., 1983, Space-time evolution of seismic activity at Mt. Etna during 1974-1982: Ann. Geophysicae, v. 1, no. 6, p. 451-462.

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.

Information Contacts: R. Romano, IIV; UPI.