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Report on Etna (Italy) — 27 March-2 April 2002

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 27 March-2 April 2002
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2002. Report on Etna (Italy). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 27 March-2 April 2002. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (27 March-2 April 2002)



37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3295 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Following almost 3 weeks of ash emissions from Etna's Bocca Nuova crater, around 25 March ash emissions began at Northeast Crater. The emissions appeared to coincide with a series of small earthquakes under the volcano's SE flank the night of 24-25 March. On the 27th and 28th ash from both craters rose in distinct puffs several hundreds of meters above the summit. On 28 March a small amount of ash fell on Etna's S flank, reaching as far as the town of Catania. The following day dark ash rose nearly continuously to several hundreds of meters above the summit. The Toulouse VAAC reported that no ash was visible on satellite imagery.

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.

Sources: Italy's Volcanoes, Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)