Report on Etna (Italy) — 15 January-21 January 2003
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
15 January-21 January 2003
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2003. Report on Etna (Italy). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 January-21 January 2003. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3357 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
According to the Etna Volcan Sicilien website, on 15 January ash emission increased at the 2,750-m-elevation pyroclastic cone on the volcano's upper S flank. There was also an associated increase in lava emission towards the S. On the 16th explosive activity continued at the 2,750-m-elevation cone, with occasional explosions ejecting volcanic material onto an area within 300 m in the crater. On the 20th a reduction in activity occurred at the pyroclastic cone in comparison to the previous day, with ten explosions occurring in 8 hours. According to the Toulouse VAAC, low-level steam-and-ash clouds were occasionally visible on the Etna web camera.
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.