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Explosive eruption and strong ash emissions at Etna volcano, Aviation Color Code briefly raised to Red, Italy

etna-volcano-eruption-april-19-2020

Volcanic tremor amplitude at Etna volcano, Italy showed a rapid increase to high values early Sunday morning, April 19, 2020. This activity was followed by lava fountaining and strong ash emissions, INGV Osservatorio Etneo reports. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Red at 07:24 UTC and lowered back to Orange at 12:26 UTC.

The seismic activity, located in the area of the Southeast Crater, started at 05:40 UTC and reached the highest levels at 07:00 UTC.

Image credit: INGV-EO

Image credit: INGV-EO

Today's eruptive activity started around 06:30 UTC. Ash emissions were rather mild during the early stages, followed by a gradual increase in intensity from around 08:46 UTC.

The volcanic plume rose to about 5 km (3.1 miles) above sea level and drifted to the east. 

The ash relapsed on the eastern side of the volcano, mostly in Valle del Bove, but fine ash has also been reported in the town of Zafferana.

Lava fountaining gradually reduced until it ceased around 09:55 UTC, the observatory reported at 10:41 UTC.

Etna on April 19, 2020. Credit: Boris Behncke

Etna on April 19, 2020. Credit: Boris Behncke

Etna on April 19, 2020. Credit: Boris Behncke

Etna on April 19, 2020. Credit: Boris Behncke

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 (5.1 x 6.2 miles) 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)

Featured image credit: INGV

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3 Comments

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