Mount Etna sends plumes of ash and lava into the sky as explosive activity increases

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Mount Etna sent plumes of ash and lava into the sky on March 5/6, 2013. Italy’s Civil Protection agency said that increased explosive activity of the volcano was registered. Today's eruption did not cause any interruption to air traffic.
Lava fountains during March 5th paroxysm.

Lava fountains during March 5th paroxysm.

VolcanoDiscovery reports that another paroxysm occurred from the new SE crater during the night. Following a period of increasing strombolian activity, large lava fountains were rising from vent in the saddle between the old and new SE crater as well its summit vent.


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 BC. 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 at Etna. Persistent explosive eruptions, sometimes with minor lava emissions, take place from one or more of the three prominent summit craters, the Central Crater, NE Crater, and SE Crater (the latter formed in 1978). 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. (GVP)

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