Report on Etna (Italy) — 12 February-18 February 2014
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 February-18 February 2014
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2014. Report on Etna (Italy). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 February-18 February 2014. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3295 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
INGV reported that Strombolian activity continued at Etna's New Southeast Crater (NSEC) and slightly intensified on 12 February. An unstable part of the lower E flank of the cone that collapsed on 11 February continued to produce small collapses and reddish ash clouds. Lava continued to flow from the cone towards the Valle del Bove, and by nightfall had reached the base of the steep W wall of the valley, then advanced on the flat land to the N of Mount Centenarians. Strombolian activity continued during 14-15 February. Lava emissions declined, but produced lava flows a few hundred meters long. At 1208 on 15 February an explosion generated a vapor-and-ash plume, and was then followed by more explosions from the same area. During the afternoon a small lava flow emerged from a new vent at the N base of the NSEC cone. The flow traveled 100 m towards the W wall of the Valle del Bove, and remained active the next day. During 16-17 February Strombolian activity continued to produce small quantities of ash. Lava continued to flow from the vent at the base of the cone.
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.