Powerful paroxysmal eruptive episode at Etna, Italy


A new powerful paroxysmal episode started at Etna's Southeast Crater, late July 1, 2021, and lasted approximately 120 minutes. This was the 5th paroxysm since June 25 and the first since June 28.

Strombolian activity at the Southeast Crater resumed at 22:40 UTC on July 1 and evolved into lava fountaining at 22:50 UTC, followed by SW lava flow shortly after.

The Aviation Color Code was raised to Red at 22:57 UTC and lowered back to Orange at 04:20 UTC on July 2.

Ash cloud produced by the eruption rose up to 6 km (20 000 feet) above sea level.

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: Etna on July 2, 2021. Credit: Boris Behncke/INGV


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