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Report on Stromboli (Italy) — September 1986


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 11, no. 9 (September 1986)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Stromboli (Italy) Intermittent lava fountains from summit lava lake after lava flow production ends; tourist killed near summit vent

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1986. Report on Stromboli (Italy) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 11:9. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198609-211040



38.789°N, 15.213°E; summit elev. 924 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

"The effusive eruption [ended] on 25 April 1986. During the eruption, the effusive vent, at 680 m elevation on the NE side of the Sciara del Fuoco, showed a gradual decline in lava output rate. The decrease in lava output was accompanied by the development of many small flows that advanced tens to hundreds of meters downslope, often covering previously erupted materials. In the very final stage, the progressive accumulation of lava around the vent led to the growth of a small (10-m-high) exogenous dome. At the end of the eruption, the new aa lava field covered ~1/3 of the Sciara del Fuoco; despite its 37° slope, virtually all of the erupted material accumulated on the subaerial part of the edifice. At the end of the effusive phase, Stromboli returned to its normal state, with a persistent lava lake producing intermittent lava fountains in the summit craters.

"On 24 July, Dr. Perez Bastardas Albert, a 33-year-old biologist from Barcelona, Spain, was killed near the edge of the W crater while climbing the mountain with his brother (but without local authorized guides). According to ... local police ... and volcano guides, the two brothers were at the edge of the crater at about 1100 when an explosion took place. They ran away, but Dr. Perez was hit in the head by a falling block and died instantly ~15 m from the crater rim. Recovery of the body was performed the same day, but with some difficulty because of the risk of falling material."

Geological Summary. Spectacular incandescent nighttime explosions at Stromboli have long attracted visitors to the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean" in the NE Aeolian Islands. This volcano has lent its name to the frequent mild explosive activity that has characterized its eruptions throughout much of historical time. The small island is the emergent summit of a volcano that grew in two main eruptive cycles, the last of which formed the western portion of the island. The Neostromboli eruptive period took place between about 13,000 and 5,000 years ago. The active summit vents are located at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a prominent scarp that formed about 5,000 years ago due to a series of slope failures which extends to below sea level. The modern volcano has been constructed within this scarp, which funnels pyroclastic ejecta and lava flows to the NW. Essentially continuous mild Strombolian explosions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded for more than a millennium.

Information Contacts: M. Rosi, Univ di Pisa; G. Frazzetta, IIV.