Report on Etna (Italy) — 31 December-6 January 2015
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
31 December-6 January 2015
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, 31 December-6 January 2015. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3357 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
INGV reported that on 29 December, a day after a short but intense eruption, cameras viewing Etna recorded small ash emissions from New Southeast Crater (NSEC) and persistent glow from the saddle between the old and new SEC cones at dusk. During the night on 1 and 2 January cameras recorded intermittent flashes from Voragine Crater (one of four summit craters), indicating Strombolian activity there for the first time in nearly two years. At 0530 on 2 January explosions at NSEC generated ash plumes that drifted SW. On the evening of 3 January explosions ejected incandescent material 150 m above the crater rim.
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.