Report on Etna (Italy) — 25 August-31 August 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
25 August-31 August 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Etna (Italy). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 25 August-31 August 2021. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3320 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
INGV reported that activity at Etna was concentrated at the Southeast Crater (SEC) during 23-29 August. Gas emissions rose from Bocca Nuova crater. A series of explosions at SEC that began at 1530 on 27 August and continued through the next morning produced ash puffs. Strombolian activity began in the early afternoon of 29 August and within an hour, lava fountains were visible rising up to 400 m above the vent. Ash emissions rose a few hundred meters. The activity varied in intensity and during intense periods, ash plumes rose up to 10 km above the summit. Ash and lapilli fell in areas to the E, including in Fornazzo, Milo, San Alfio, and Giarre. Lava flows from the SEC traveled SW and one from the E base traveled E toward the Valle del Bove.
Geological Summary. 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.