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Etna volcano update: 17th paroxysm of Etna - spectacular video

Fri, 2 Apr 2021, 09:27
09:27 AM | BY: T
Etna's new effusive vent at the southern base of the SE crater active during 31 Mar - 1 April (image: Michele Mammino)
Etna's new effusive vent at the southern base of the SE crater active during 31 Mar - 1 April (image: Michele Mammino)
The latest lava fountain episode or paroxysm, counting number 17 since 16 Feb 2021, has ended. Volcanic activity at the New SE crater gradually and very slowly declined since the afternoon to finally ceased at some point in the late (?) evening.
This eruptive episode had been very remarkable, even for Etna standards, and for several reasons:
First, while its intensity at peak phase may not have quite reached the same values as many of the previous 16 episodes since mid February, it lasted significantly longer than any other, with about 12 hours of lava fountaining, and a very long build-up and declining phases, making the whole episode lasting almost two days!
Secondly, the opening of a new effusive vent at the southern base of the cone in the morning of 31 March also marked a significantly different behavior than observed previously. As to its causes, we can only speculate that the uppermost parts of the conduit system had become sufficiently unstable by now, so that when pressure in the upper conduit increased, it opened a fracture at a lower point, at the southern base of the cone, and allowed some of the magma to find an easier there.
This would explain why the intensity of the eruption later at the summit vent was a bit lower,- some of the magma was "diverted" just before reaching the summit.

Local Etna specialist filmmaker Michele Mammino took some of the most remarkable videos of this eruption, in particular close-up shots of the new fissure vent that was active at the southern base of the New SE crater. Enjoy:

It is worth mentioning that during the whole time of the eruptive phase at the New SE crater, the other summit vents continued their intermittent mild strombolian activity.

Previous news

Thu, 1 Apr 2021, 07:15

Etna volcano update: Eruptive episode still going on strong

Activity from Etna's New SE crater with two lava flows into Valle del Bove (image: INGV themal webcam on east flank)
The 17th paroxysm (lava fountain episode) from the New SE crater in a row has been going on all night, and is still increasing as of 9 am this morning local time, making it a record-breaker in terms of duration. ... Read all
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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-ongoing (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.

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