15th paroxysmal eruptive episode at Etna volcano, Italy

15th paroxysmal eruptive episode at Etna volcano, Italy

The morning of March 19, 2021, brought another paroxysmal eruptive episode at Etna volcano, Italy -- the 15th since February 16. The Aviation Color Code was raised to red at 08:16 UTC.

The tremor started increasing at around 06:30 UTC and soon reached a high-level threshold.

Signal sources were located under the Southeast crater at a depth of 2 500 m (8 200 feet) above sea level. The infrasonic activity also increased at the time, with 1 - 2 events per minute.

Strombolian activity at the Southeast Crater transformed into lava fountaining, with eruptive ash cloud scattering toward ENE, INGV-OE reported at 08:32 UTC.

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: Eruption at Etna volcano on March 19, 2021. Credit: INGV


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