Last update: 23 May 2013 Typical eruption style: Effusive (lava flows) and mildly explosive (strombolian) eruptions. Both summit and frequent flank eruptions, the latter seem to be occurring in clusters lasting few to a few tens of years. Etna volcano eruptions: Near continuously active; some major historic eruptions include 122 BC (explosive eruption from summit), 1669 AD (devastating flank eruption), 1787 (one of the most spectacular summit eruptions on record - lava fountains reportedly up to 3000 m high). Eruptions since 1950 (f: flank / s: summit activity): 1950-51(f), 1952(s), 1953(s?), 1955-64(s), 1966-1970(s), 1966(f), 1971(f), 1971-1980(s), 1974(f), 1978(f), 1979(f), 1980-81(s), 1981 (f), 1983(f), 1984(s), 1985(f), 1986(s), 1987(f), 1987(s), 1989(f), 1989-1991(s), 1991-93(f), 1995-2001(s), 2001(f), 2002(s), 2002-03(f), 2004-2005 (f), 2006 (s), 2007 (s), 2008-2009 (f), 2010(s), 2011-ongoing(s)
Etna Volcano Photos
Mt Etna on Sicily, locally called "Mongibello", is Europe's largest and most active volcano. Its frequent eruptions are often accompanied by large lava flows, but rarely pose danger to inhabited areas. Etna is one of the volcanoes with the longest historic records of eruptions, going back more than 2000 years.
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 BC. Historical lava flows cover much of the surface of this massive volcano, which makes it the highest and most voluminous in Italy. Ever since ancient times, the volcano seems to have been in near-constant activity. It is considered, after Kilauea on Hawaii, the second most active, i.e. productive volcano on earth.
Two styles of eruptive activity typically occur at Etna: (1) persistent explosive eruptions, sometimes with minor lava emissions, from one or more of the 4 prominent summit craters, the Bocca Nova, Voragine (the former Central Crater), NE Crater, and SE Crater (the latter formed in 1978). (2) Flank eruptions, typically with higher effusion rates, are less frequent and originate from fissures that open on the volcano's flanks. Such flank eruptions, such as the spectacular recent ones in 2001 and 2002-03 commonly form cinder cones, that dot the volcano in their hundreds.
Ufficial homepage of the Istituto Nazionale Di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - contains abundant information (in Italian) about volcanism, geology and the monitoring of Etna and the other volcanoes in Sicily as well as recent activity updates
Charles Rivière maintains a website (in French), extremely up-to-date, with detailed information about Etna's activity and latest results on geochemical studies on recent Etna lavas conducted by research team around R. Clocchiatti..
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