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New SE crater paroxysms on 20 February

After the episode of lava fountaining (paroxysm) on the morning of 19 February 2013, Etna's New Southeast Crater has produced two further paroxysms, one in the early morning hours of 20 February and another during the early afternoon of the same day. The first of these events, whose most energetic phase lasted from 00:50 until 01:35 GMT (=local time -1), emitted an ash plume toward east-southeast, lava flows from the fissure cutting the southeastern crater rim and also from a new eruptive fissure, which opened on the lower southwestern flank of the cone, and small lahars.

After the cessation of lava fountaining, weak spattering and low-rate lava emission continued from two small eruptive fissures located at the southeastern base of the cone. During the late forenoon, eruptive activity at the New Southeast Crater re-intensified, and shortly after 13:15 GMT, the second paroxysm of the day began, whose culminating phase lasted until about 13:50 GMT. This even, too, produced an ash cloud directed toward the eastern sector of the volcano, and new lava flows descended toward the Valle del Bove, following the paths of their predecessors. Currently (20 February 2013, 17:15 GMT), slow lava emission from the fissures at the southeastern baser of the New Southeast Crater is continuing.

The rapid succession of three paroxysmal eruptive episodes in less than 36 hours is quite notable; the only known historic precedent of three paroxysms occurring in such a short time interval at Etna was the series of eruptive episodes in 2000. At that time, especially during the first few weeks of that series, in February 2000, paroxysmal episodes would occur sometimes at a rate of up to three per day.

Source: Catania

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