Three episodes of strong lava fountaining took place at Etna volcano since 20:20 UTC on May 25, 2021, generating an eruptive column up to 7.6 km (25 000 feet) above sea level. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Red on 7 occasions since UTC midnight on May 25, with the last one at 10:50 UTC today.
The first paroxysm started at 22:20 UTC on May 25 and lasted nearly 60 minutes. It was followed by another at around 08:18 UTC and another at 10:32 UTC, still ongoing at the time of press — the 5th paroxysmal eruptive episode at Etna since May 20 and the 23rd since February 16.
According to the forecast model, the eruptive cloud produced by this activity scattered to the E and SW, rising up to 7.6 km (25 00 feet) above sea level.
Image credit: INGV
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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