Strong strombolian activity and significant ash emissions at Etna, Italy

Strong strombolian activity and significant ash emissions at Etna, Italy

Explosive activity at Etna volcano, Italy increased on October 7, 2020, with the first eruption at 06:35 UTC accompanied by significant ash emissions to 4.6 km (15 000 feet) above sea level.

The Aviation Color Code was raised to Red at 07:00 UTC, downgraded to Orange at 16:42, and raised back to Red at 17:04 UTC when activity increased again.

Volcanic ash is not detectable on satellite imagery due to the cloud mask.

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: Boris Behncke


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