Etna has just woken up

You will also be interested

[EN VIDÉO] Interview: the different types of volcanoes, with Jacques-Marie Bardintzeff
Volcanoes play a very important role for the planet and have done so for billions of years. While some are considered sacred, others have extraordinary characteristics… © Futura

Around 7 p.m. yesterday, emissions ashes occurred at the top of the northern slope of the southeast crater, the most active of Etna’s summit craters. They accompanied the opening of one or more vents at this level which fed a short lava flow which reached the northern base of this cone volcanic. The activity is certainly quite modest, but it is no less superb, as these images show.

the tremora seismic signal indicating the intensity eruptiveis now quite stable on medium-high values, but the cloud cover makes it impossible to know what is happening at the top of the volcano. Anyway, the shape of the tremor is clearly different from that observed during the many paroxysms of the last year, during which the activity was brief and very powerful.

Boris Behncke, volcanologist of the INGV, also indicates that the magma which is currently coming out is poor in gas and that the seismic activity is rather low, indicating that the volcano ” is not under pressure as before 2021 “. Is a new paroxysm (read our article below) possible, two and a half months after the previous one? Yes, but it is likely less likely. Does this activity rather correspond to the beginnings of a longer eruption? Unless Etna goes back to sleep soon, with no obvious activity… The future will tell!

Etna: another breathtaking climax on the volcano

Eleven days after the previous paroxysm, a new brief and very intense eruption took place on February 21 on Etna. A quasi-replica of the paroxysm of February 10. Does this announce the beginning of a new sequence of close paroxysms like last year?

Article of Ludovic Leducpublished on February 22, 2022

February 21, 2:54 p.m. The Southeast Crater is emitting only a little gas, but the thermal image reveals the fury that this volcanic cone has just experienced. However, a few hours ago, there was nothing to predict such a volcanic storm… Yes, but now, at this moment with Etna, it is better to be on your guard!

Weak explosive activity returned to the interior of the Southeast Crater around 9 a.m., causing a few puffs of ash. Over time, this activity intensified, with progressively more intense and closer explosions. And shortly after noon, the activity gained momentum again, with lava fountains several hundred meters high which, for two hours, fed a column of ashes nine kilometers high! Magnificent ! This ash plume was driven south-east by the winds, causing some ash fallout in towns and villages in the area. The lava fountaining phase ended at 2:12 p.m., but two flows were still fed, to the southwest and east of the Southeast crater at that time.

These paroxysms can be related to pulses of a magma rich in gas that comes to the surface. At times last year, these paroxysms occurred every 24 to 48 hours, so even if some quieter periods did occur, 2021 ends with more than fifty paroxysms! So, will Etna do it again?

Spectacular eruption of Etna with huge lava fountains!

Article by Ludovic Leduc, published on February 14, 2022

More than three months after the last of the many paroxysms of the year 2021, Etna did it again on February 10. Lava fountains hundreds of meters high, lava flows, pyroclastic flows and deep scar in the Southeast crater, the Sicilian giant has marked its return!

After several months of intense activity, winter had settled on theEtnathe snow covering the blackness of the flows and slag making up the top. A modest lava flow on December 13 and a fairly strong ash emission the next day could however attest that calm is still relative on Etna…

As during the paroxysms of 2021, activity animated the Southeast crater, the most active volcanic cone of this volcano. Moreover, the intense activity of the past year has enabled it to reach approximately 3,357 meters of altitude, making this crater the summit of the volcano, a mark that it steals from its neighbor the North-East crater which was the summit for forty years!

L’incandescent returned to the interior of this volcanic cone on the night of February 9 to 10, associated with a modest explosive activity producing some weak ash emissions in a discontinuous manner. The activity continued thus during the day and, around 3:20 p.m., a lava flow appeared to the south of this Southeast crater. Then, the explosive activity intensified with more intense and more frequent explosions, so that, around 6:45 p.m., the explosions were linked almost continuously.

The eruption gained further intensity afterwards, with the climax strictly speaking between 9:30 p.m. and 10:40 p.m.: the degassing magmatic was then continuous, at the origin of jets of lava impressive from 500 to 600 meters high! The ashes produced by these lava fountains fed an eruptive column which reached an altitude of about 10 kilometers, bent towards the northwest by the winds and at the origin of some fallout in inhabited areas.

A pyroclastic flow and the deeply modified Southeast crater

At 10:26 p.m. precisely, the southern flank of this Southeast crater was completely ripped open, causing a pyroclastic flow about 1,500 meters long towards the south, in an area where tourists come to admire the summit of the volcano… Fortunately, this sudden event took place in the middle of the night and during a non-tourist period, because these clouds of gas and ash are fast and therefore extremely dangerous! Be that as it may, the southern flank of this volcano now appears completely gutted: a deep scar cuts it from top to bottom!

This superb paroxysm is the first of the year 2022. It comes more than three months after that of October 23 which was the last of the incredible sequence started on February 16, 2021, a sequence that has seen more than fifty paroxysms of this type follow one another, sometimes with almost perfect regularity! Is this part of the same sequence? Is this an isolated event or does it mark the beginning of a great new year on this volcano? We will see. In the meantime, a Sicilian explained yesterday that she was not physically and mentally ready to sweep the ashes again on her terrace every three days… A testimony that reminds us that, if the risks during these summit eruptions are very modest, they can still seriously disturb the inhabitants!

Superb images of the paroxysm of February 10! © Michele Mamino

Interested in what you just read?

Leave a Comment