Etna volcano update: Short but violent paroxysm number 7 blankets part of Sicily with black ash
Mon, 1 Mar 2021, 09:1309:13 AM | BY: T
The ash plume of Etna's 8th paroxysm in late Feb 2021 (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
VIew of the lava fountain mostly hidden inside the ash and steam column (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
Square in Fornazzo village covered with black lapilli (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
The latest lava fountaining episode, or paroxysm, occurred in the morning of Sunday 28 Feb 2021, after a longer interval than the previous six ones. After roughly three and a half day, the awaited number 7 episode of the current series of paroxysms occurred Sunday morning around 9 am local time.
Ash-covered street and ads from local magicians ready to help (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
Different from the previous ones, the activity increased from very low levels to strong lava fountains in an extremely very short time. First signs of reactivation of the New SE crater showed themselves around 8:40 am, with the appearance of strombolian bursts and a lava flow from the eastern summit vent.
This activity increased to lava fountaining within approx 30 minutes and had already reached the peak phase at around 9:20 am.
At that time, a tall eruption column rose several kilometers above the volcano's summit and spread into a large umbrella cloud similar to the preceding eruptions.
The lava fountaining phase abruptly ended after 9:40 am and was followed by a series of stronger explosions at the cone before activity dropped almost completely.
The ash cloud drifted east-southeastwards from the volcano and produced heavy ash fall in this sector of the volcano. Particularly affected villages included Zafferana, Milo and Fornazzo, where 1-2 cm black lapilli-sized ash, with fragments up to 1-2 cm quickly covered all surfaces. Members of the VolcanoDiscovery Team observed the eruption from approx. 10 km distance in a location between Fornazzo and Sant'Alfio, at the very edge of the ash fallout. Even there, black scoria of up to 3 cm in diameter were falling like hail during a storm, causing us to seek shelter under a roof.
Video of the ash plume:
Sun, 28 Feb 2021, 15:00
Sun, 28 Feb 2021, 08:45
Etna Volcano Volcanic Ash Advisory: ERUPTION AT 20210228/0811Z STRONG ASH EMISSION IN PROGRESS to 20000 ft (6100 m)