Ash rises up to 10.7 km (35 000 feet) a.s.l. after 10th paroxysm at Etna volcano, Italy

Ash rises up to 10.7 km (35 000 feet) a.s.l. after 10th paroxysm at Etna volcano, Italy

A rapid increase in the amplitude of volcanic tremor at Etna volcano started at 01:30 UTC on March 7, 2021, leading up to an increase in Strombolian activity at the SE crater around 03:30 UTC and 10th paroxysm since February 16. The Aviation Color Code was raised to red at 02:19 UTC.

At 02:19 UTC, strong strombolian activity was forming an eruptive cloud to a height of about 5.2 km (17 000 feet) a.s.l., moving E and to 6 km (20 000 feet) by 03:30 UTC.

Lava flows were at about 2.8 km (1.7 miles) a.s.l. at 03:50 UTC.

Lava fountaining started shortly after 06:30 UTC and ended around 07:10.

By 07:15 UTC, the top of the ash cloud was reaching 10.7 km (35 000 feet) above sea level.

Image credit: INGV

Ash rising from Etna volcano, Italy on March 8, 2021. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-3, DG DEFIS

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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