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Paroxysm (nr 24) at the New SE Crater on 12 April

The lava fountains from several vents on the eruptive fissure during the peak of the eruption (photo: Marco Restivo, www.etnawalk.it)
The lava fountains from several vents on the eruptive fissure during the peak of the eruption (photo: Marco Restivo, www.etnawalk.it)
Zoom onto the liquid lava fountain (photo: Marco Restivo, www.etnawalk.it)
Zoom onto the liquid lava fountain (photo: Marco Restivo, www.etnawalk.it)
The oblique lava fountain directed towards Valle del Bove from the lower eastern vent on the eruptive fissure (photo: Marco Restivo, www.etnawalk.it)
The oblique lava fountain directed towards Valle del Bove from the lower eastern vent on the eruptive fissure (photo: Marco Restivo, www.etnawalk.it)
During the afternoon of 12 April a brief but violent eruption with lava fountains (paroxysm) took place at Etna volcano. It was the 24th episode of the series that began on 12 January 2011 (the sixth since the beginning of 2012) from the new cinder cone southeast of the SE crater, called the "New SE crater".
Strombolian activity had started on the evening of 10 April, and intensified during the night 11-12 April and on the morning of 12 April, with explosions from the summit vent of the cone becoming more and more energetic and regular.
At 14:17 local time, a vent was reactivated on a segment further upslope on the eruptive fissure on the southeast side of the NSEC and began issuing a slow lava flow.
Ten minutes later, the same vent initiated weak spattering. Almost simultaneously the strombolian activity, which had remained fairly stable during the previous hour, began to gradually increase. During this phase, the formation of at least 3 gas rings were observed, which rose several hundred meters above the crater and then dissipated.
At about 15:15 the first weak and intermittent lava fountains started from the summit vent of the cone. The activity of spattering from the eruptive fissure had gradually intensified producing real strombolian explosions that, around 16:00, became very intense, throwing volcanic bombs size of meter size until the base of the cone.
At around 16:10 another lava flow was observed to be erupted from the gap formed after the collapse of the northeastern portion of the cinder cone on 1 April, but it was not possible to assess whether it was produced by the reactivation of the fissure opened during that activity, or whether it was generated by an overflow due to an increase in lava discharge rate from the other vents.
Between 16:20 and 16:30 the activity suddenly intensitied and formed sustained lava fountains, first from the summit vent, then later from several other vents aligned along the eruptive fissure on the southeastern flank. The largest of these lava fountains produced spectacular sprays directed towards the Valle del Bove.
The fountaining generated a column of gas and tephra that has rose a few km above the volcano and was then bent by the winds to the east.
The activity remained almost constant for about half an hour, when, at around 17:00, the vent at the top of the cone stopped fountaining and started to produce impressive ash emissions. The activity decreased sharply around 17:15. During this phase, the lava flows travelling into the Valle del Bove in contact with snow generated huge lahars that produced large clouds of steam that rose some hundreds of feet above the valley floor.
The ash emission stopped at around 17h40 and all activity stopped a few tens of minutes later. The most advanced lava flow fronts reached at 1950 meters above sea level in the Valle del Bove.
A second lava flow was erupted from the fissure on the north side of the cone, and reached some 100 m length.
---
(Source: EtnaWalk)
Eruption ends
Update Thu 12 Apr 17:44
The eruption is more or less over. Some sporadic ash emissions and the still active lava flow descending into Valle del Bove are all what is left of one of the probably most violent recent paroxysms of Etna.
Correspondingly, the tremor signal has dropped sharply back down.
Tremor signal has dropped back down
Tremor signal has dropped back down
Last ash emissions from the NSEC
Last ash emissions from the NSEC
Update Thu 12 Apr 17:29
Last ash emissions from the NSEC
Last ash emissions from the NSEC
After about 45 minutes of peak intensity, the lava fountains have stopped abruptly, and the eruption is now quickly decreasing, as the magma column inside drops and hides.
Eruption declining
Update Thu 12 Apr 17:18
Tall eruption column seen from Catania
Tall eruption column seen from Catania
It seems the eruption has now passed its peak. The lava fountains are becoming smaller, and the tremor signal started to decrease.
Update Thu 12 Apr 17:15
Tremor signal at 189
Tremor signal at 189
Dense steam and ash clouds generated by the descending lava flow
Dense steam and ash clouds generated by the descending lava flow
Update Thu 12 Apr 17:09
Lava flow into Valle del Bove generating small pyroclastic flow
Lava flow into Valle del Bove generating small pyroclastic flow
The eruption is still at its peak, tremor is around 200.
The lava flow descending into Valle del Bove meets snow layers, and occasionally, the violent mixing generates small pyroclastic flows such as this one captured on Etna Trekking's Schiena dell'Asino webcam.
Lava fountains
Update Thu 12 Apr 16:59
Lava fountains from NSEC
Lava fountains from NSEC
Update Thu 12 Apr 16:50
Multiple lava fountains
Multiple lava fountains
The lava flow descending into Valle del Bove
The lava flow descending into Valle del Bove
The eruption at its peak
Update Thu 12 Apr 16:44
Several lava fountains are visible, even on the webcams, from vents located on the NW-SE fissure cutting through the New SE crater (NSEC). The ash column is several km tall drifting to the east.



Tremor at 160
Tremor at 160
Update Thu 12 Apr 16:39
Tremor around 100
Tremor around 100
Tall lava fountains from several vents of the NSEC
Tall lava fountains from several vents of the NSEC
Update Thu 12 Apr 16:36
The eruption near its peak?
View from Montagnola
View from Montagnola
From Schiena dell'Asino
From Schiena dell'Asino
Tall eruption column seen from Catania
Tall eruption column seen from Catania
Update Thu 12 Apr 16:31
Lava fountains from the summit crater of the NSEC
Lava fountains from the summit crater of the NSEC
The view from Schiena dell'Asino
The view from Schiena dell'Asino
The paroxysm is entering the peak phase; tall lava fountains have begun from the summit crater and the ash-loaden eruption column is rising quickly.
Update Thu 12 Apr 16:28
The eruption column starting to rise (Etna Trekking webcam from Schiena dell'Asino)
The eruption column starting to rise (Etna Trekking webcam from Schiena dell'Asino)
Update Thu 12 Apr 16:12
Webcam image
Webcam image
The lava flow has reached the base of the cone on the southern side and forms a delta. Lava fountains are appearing at the summit crater and an ash column is starting to rise.
Update Thu 12 Apr 15:47
You can watch the activity live at webcams.volcanodiscovery.com/Etna!
Update Thu 12 Apr 15:38
The tremor signal has increased fast during the past minutes and is now at about 60. It seems low lava fountains might be starting.
Rising tremor signal
Rising tremor signal
Thermal image (INGV)
Thermal image (INGV)
Update Thu 12 Apr 15:14
Activity continues to increase by the minute now.
Volcanic tremor now at 22
Volcanic tremor now at 22
Ever more powerful explosions and the advancing flow
Ever more powerful explosions and the advancing flow
lava flow has started
Update Thu 12 Apr 14:54
A lava flow can now be seen emerging from the SE gap of the cone.
Volcanic tremor now at 20
Volcanic tremor now at 20
Lava flow emerging from the fissure of the NSEC
Lava flow emerging from the fissure of the NSEC
Update Thu 12 Apr 14:09
Gradually, explosions are becoming more violent, but the build-up this time is slow.
Rising tremor signal (INGV)
Rising tremor signal (INGV)
Strombolian activity from NSEC
Strombolian activity from NSEC
Update Thu 12 Apr 13:03
It looks almost certain now we are heading towards a new paroxysm. Strombolian activity is now visible in daylight and near continuous from the NSEC.
Rising tremor signal (INGV)
Rising tremor signal (INGV)
Thermal image (INGV)
Thermal image (INGV)
New paroxysm under way?
Update Thu 12 Apr 10:35
During the night and the morning, sporadic strombolian activity, sometimes strong enough to eject bombs to the outer flank of the cone, continued at the New SE crater.
A short time ago, the tremor signal again started to rise sharply, possibly announcing the next paroxysm to occur within the next hours, unless it is another "failed attempt" such as yesterday...
Rising tremor signal (INGV)
Rising tremor signal (INGV)
Strombolian activity from NSEC
Strombolian activity from NSEC
Update Wed 11 Apr 15:26
This time, it was a false alarm. After an unusual steep rise, tremor has fallen back down again.
EBELZ_49.jpg
Update Wed 11 Apr 11:27
A new paroxysm could be in the making! The tremor signal is showing its typical steep increase, visible observations are difficult at the moment.
Rising tremor signal (INGV)
Rising tremor signal (INGV)
Update Wed 11 Apr 09:24
Strombolian activity has resumed at the New SE crater of Etna and was first observed last night (11 April) at around 20h00 local time. Until midnight, explosions were weak and infrequent, but increased in size for a while at around 1 am. Some of them threw incandescent lava until the base of the cone.
At the moment, bad weather is preventing visual observations. The tremor signal is still at low levels (although a rise that could mean a temporary peak is visible right now).
Judging from the past events, a new paroxysm is likely to occur during the next days.
Source: Etna Walk

You can follow Etna live at our new webcam tool:
webcams.volcanodiscovery.com/Etna
Strombolian activity from NSEC (Radiostudio 7.it)
Strombolian activity from NSEC (Radiostudio 7.it)
Tremor signal as of 11 April (INGV)
Tremor signal as of 11 April (INGV)
Update Fri 06 Apr 17:19
etna_23.jpg
Etna is quiet again, but probably not for very long.
 

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