Report on Etna (Italy) — 11 May-17 May 2022
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
11 May-17 May 2022
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2022. Report on Etna (Italy). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 May-17 May 2022. 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 at around 1900 on 12 May new vents opened along the N flank of Etna’s Southeast Crater (SEC) and produced ash emissions that rose to 3.5 km (11,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW. Lava flowed from the vents and traveled to the N base of the crater. Lava effusion continued over the next several days, and by 17 May the flow had descended ENE into Valle del Leone, reaching 2,300-2,400 m elevation. Discontinuous Strombolian activity of variable intensities occurred at SEC; during more intense phases ash emissions were visible, though the plumes dissipated rapidly.
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.