Report on Etna (Italy) — 18 September-24 September 2019
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 September-24 September 2019
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2019. Report on Etna (Italy). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 September-24 September 2019. 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 from vents at the bottom of Etna’s Voragine Crater (VOR) continued during 16-22 September. On 18 September guides observed intensified explosive activity at VOR characterized by the ejection of scoria and ash from several vents to heights of tens of meters. A lava flow from the cone had descended the W flank of the cone to its base, and then flowed several hundred meters S and branched into the Bocca Nuova Crater. Similar activity was observed on 19 September, though by 22 September the lava flows were cooling and Strombolian activity from VOR vents had become less frequent. Gas emissions rose from Northeast Crater (NEC); an ash emission was noted on 22 September.
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.