Report on Etna (Italy) — 1 August-7 August 2018
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 August-7 August 2018
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2018. Report on Etna (Italy). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 August-7 August 2018. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3320 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Based on two field inspections and webcam data, INGV reported that during 30 July-5 August activity at Etna was characterized by gas emissions at the summit craters and Strombolian activity. Three vents at the bottom of the Bocca Nuova crater were active, with gas emissions rising from two vents and sporadic Strombolian activity occurring at a third. Three vents were also active at the bottom of Northeast Crater (NEC); one produced ash emissions, one steam emissions, and Strombolian explosions at the third ejected incandescent material as high as the crater rim. After several months of quiet conditions, explosive activity resumed at the E crater on the E flank of the New Southeast Crater (NSEC). The activity began at 0608 on 1 August with a brownish-gray ash emission that rose several hundred meters above the summit. The event was followed by more ash emissions and then Strombolian activity in the evening.
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.