At 52 lava fountaining eruptions and counting, Etna is poised to break Olympic records

dim., 1 août 2021, 18:46
18:46 PM | AUTEUR : T
Lava fountain over 1000 m tall at Etna's New SE crater last night (image: Francesco Tomarchio / facebook)
Lava fountain over 1000 m tall at Etna's New SE crater last night (image: Francesco Tomarchio / facebook)
Extremely rapid growth of the SE crater during the past months (image: Boris Behncke / facebook)
Extremely rapid growth of the SE crater during the past months (image: Boris Behncke / facebook)
Main and eastern vent active during the eruption (image: Boris Behncke / facebook)
Main and eastern vent active during the eruption (image: Boris Behncke / facebook)
Cleaning up the ash fall in 10 km distance on the eastern flank (image: Franca Fulle)
Cleaning up the ash fall in 10 km distance on the eastern flank (image: Franca Fulle)
Last night's lava fountaining episode paroxysm at the New SE crater came after one of the longest-so-far intervals in the recent record-breaking series of paroxysms, but certainly was also one of the most impressive and powerful ones.
At its peak lava fountains probably surpassed 1000 m in height and the duration of the lava-fountaining phase also was remarkable with about two hours.
See photo gallery!
Noteworthy was also that the eastern vent of the New SE crater had become active again during the eruption, resulting in a second lava flow towards the north (in addition to the “usual” lava flow towards SW).
Thanks to only little wind and shifting directions, multiple sectors around the southern and eastern flanks of Etna received heavy ash and lapilli fall - something this year has seen a lot of already...


Record-breaking series
The ongoing series of paroxysms at the New SE crate had started in Feb 2021, paused for several weeks after 17 events until 1 April, only to restart strongly on 19 May, entering a hectic rhythm of one eruption every few days (or sometimes less), often in sequences of near-identical intervals repeated many times. The short intervals lasted until the paroxysm during the night 8-9 July, after which the intervals have increased: the next ones occurred on 14 July, 20 July, and now 31 July-1 August 2021, which marks the 52nd event in total!
The only known series of paroxysms at Etna with a greater number occurred in 2000, when the then-much-smaller SE crater produced a total of 66 fire-fountaining phases between January and August. However, who knows where the current series is ending and whether Etna has put herself the challenge to exceed that number this time, while we have belayed Olympic Games?

New summit of Etna volcano
And once again, the New SE crater has gained probably several meters in height, now clearly forming the volcano's summit at probably 3400 or more altitude. The deposits of the recent lava fountains have drastically changed the morphology of the crater complex, building a cone, as if a miniature volcano, on top of the former saddle vent area of the SE crater.

Video of the eruption
The eruption last night was once more a great show of fire and fury, marvellously captured by photographer Francesco Tomarchio:


Links:
Francesco Tomarchio / facebook)
Boris Behncke (facebook)

Actualités précédentes

sam., 31 juil. 2021, 23:27
Lava fountain from the New SE crater around midnight 31 July-1 Aug (image: INGV webcam from Montagnola)
After several days of alternating phases of quiet and shifting activity at moderate to strong levels from the New SE crater following a brief interlude of strong ash emission at the NE crater, the volcano has once again started to enter a paroxysmal phase or paroxysm at the New SE crater, still in progress: ... Read all
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