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Report on Etna (Italy) — May 1984


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 9, no. 5 (May 1984)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Etna (Italy) Continued lava production; Strombolian activity

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1984. Report on Etna (Italy) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 9:5. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198405-211060



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

"The Southeast Crater eruption was continuing in early June. The explosive strombolian activity from the small new cone within the Southeast Crater had been diminishing, and stopped almost completely 13 May. Starting that day, ash ejections have been observed at more or less regular intervals, while slow emission of gas and vapor usually occurred. The strombolian activity started again in late May; at times (25 May and 4 June) it was particularly violent.

"The effusive activity has been continuous, with alternating phases of greater or lesser vigor. The lava field has grown noticeably toward the S (reaching a maximum dimension of more than 500 m) and by early June had in its interior, many ephemeral effusive vents, which generated small lava flows that advanced over earlier ones. The main flows (generally one to the S and another to the N), which originated from convergence of the small flows, barely got below 2,700 m elevation.

"At irregular intervals, more or less violent ejections of reddish ash from the Chasm have been noted, while from Bocca Nuova there have only been gas emissions."

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: R. Romano, IIV.