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Etna volcano
Complex stratovolcano Currently about 3329 m (changing due to eruptive activity and collapse of its crater rims)
Sicily, Italy, 37.75°N / 14.99°E
Current status: erupting (4 out of 5) Etna volcano eruptions:
Near continuously active; some major historic eruptions include 122 BC (large Plinian outbursts that created the small caldera of the "Cratere del Piano"), 1669 AD (devastating flank eruption that destroyed 15 villages and part of Catania), 1787 (Subplinian eruption and 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 (s), 1950-51(f), 1955 (s), 1956 (s), 1956 (f), 1957 (s),1960 (s), 1961 (s), 1964 (f), 1964 (s), 1966 (s), 1966-1971(s), 1968 (f), 1971(f), 1972-1973 (s), 1974 (f), 1974-1975 (s), 1975-1977 (f), 1977-1978 (s), 1978 (f), 1979(s), 1979 (f), 1980 (s), 1981 (s), 1981 (f),1982-1983 (s), 1983(f), 1984(s), 1985(s), 1985(f), 1986(s), 1986-1987 (f), 1987(s), 1988(s), 1989(s), 1989(f), 1990 (s), 1991-93(f), 1995(s), 1996(s), 1997 (s), 1998 (s), 1999 (s), 2000 (s), 2001(s), 2001 (f), 2002(s), 2002-03(f), 2004-2005 (f), 2006 (s), 2007 (s), 2008-2009 (f), 2010(s), 2011-2013(s), 2014-18, 2018(f), 2019 (s), 2020 (s)
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 tours:
Volcanoes of Italy - the Grand Tour (15-days study & walking tour from Vesuvius to Etna)
Etna Trekking Tour (private and group tours to Etna volcano with a mountain guide)
Etna Volcano Special (volcano expedition to see Mt. Etna volcano' eruption)
Etna Discovery (8-days hiking & study tour on Mt. Etna volcano, Italy)
From Stromboli to Etna (9-day walking & study tour to Stromboli, Lipari, Vulcano and Etna with our expert volcanologist)

Etna volcano update: 4th lava fountaining eruption within 5 days comes at remarkable same interval since previous

Sat, 20 Feb 2021, 22:57
22:57 PM | BY: T
Lava fountain from Etna's New SE crater during the paroxysm on 20-21 Feb 2021 (image: thermal webcam INGV Catania)
Lava fountain from Etna's New SE crater during the paroxysm on 20-21 Feb 2021 (image: thermal webcam INGV Catania)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
The 4th paroxysm within little more than 4 days is occurring at the time of this update! Starting in the evening of 20 Feb 2021, the explosive activity at the New SE crater gradually increased and developed into sustained lava fountains now approx. 300 m tall, and still rising.
A lava flow has started to descend towards the Valle del Bove and although obscured by the night, a tall ash and steam plume is rising above the summit region of the volcano. As spectacular as it looks, these eruptions pose no threat to inhabited areas, although the ash plumes can be dangerous to aircraft and the lapilli and ash falls are a (rather common) nuisance to the downwind areas around the volcano.
It is remarkable to see that tonight's paroxysm came at almost exactly the same interval as the intervals between the preceding paroxysms on 16 Feb evening, 18 Feb early morning, and 19 Feb late morning, i.e. each approx. 35 hours after the previous one.
What causes such regular eruptions?
The current, remarkably cyclic occurrence of these short, but very violent lava fountain phases at near-perfectly regular intervals is certainly an extraordinary and rare event, but has been observed at Etna several times in the past, such as in 2000 and 2012-13. Intervals between paroxysms ranging from 12 hours or less to several days.
What causes this regularity exactly is not fully understood, but the cyclic behavior at the surface is certainly linked to a combination of processes deeper below, which govern the rise of fresh, gas-rich magma from deeper reservoirs, capable to produce fountains when erupted at the surface. This hotter magma obviously rises in separate batches, like large bubbles from a leak, at regular intervals as opposed to a more or less constant flow of magma.The latter, however, is a more common type of behavior, resulting in prolonged phases of activity at moderate levels, much as had been observed for weeks and months in a row during the past few years.
This difference is also reflected by the tremor amplitude: while extreme during the short paroxysms, it has been much lower during the intervals as during the weeks before, where activity fluctuated around an intermediate average value.
In other words, right now, Etna seems to be in a different state of transporting magma from its reservoirs to the surface, one characterized by generally very low rates of flux interrupted by short, extreme bursts of activity when individual batches make their way upwards.
How long the current pattern will last and where it might lead to, can only be guessed.

Previous news

Sat, 20 Feb 2021, 20:14
Strombolian explosion at Etna's New SE crater this evening (image: LAVE webcam)
As the same time interval (approx. 35 hours) as between the past 3 lava fountaining episodes or paroxysms has now passed since the last eruption yesterday morning, it is now a guessing game whether Etna is now heading to produce the 4th in a new series. ... read all
Fri, 19 Feb 2021, 10:19
The New SE crater after the end of the lava fountains (image: thermal INGV webcam)
After little more than an hour with impressive fire fountains, the eruption quickly ceased and is now over. The lava flows to the south and east continue to descend, but may no longer be alimented. read all
Fri, 19 Feb 2021, 09:41
The eruption plume from this morning's paroxysm of Etna (image: Sara Raciti)
About 45 minutes after the onset, the eruption is now at its peak, probably going to start to decrease soon. read all

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