Mount Etna

 

Mount Etna, located on the eastern coast of Sicily, Italy, reigns as Europe’s tallest and most active volcano. This iconic stratovolcano has shaped the landscape and influenced the lives of Sicilians for millennia. Its frequent eruptions, characterized by both effusive lava flows and explosive activity, provide a spectacle of nature’s power and a constant reminder of the dynamic forces that reside beneath the Earth’s surface. Etna’s complex geological history spans hundreds of thousands of years, marked by periods of intense eruptive activity interspersed with phases of relative quiescence. Its structure features multiple craters and fissures, including four active summit craters. This dynamic environment supports a unique ecosystem, adapted to the volcanic soils and the presence of frequent eruptions. Etna holds significant cultural and historical importance for Sicily, and its ongoing activity makes it a vital focus for scientific research and volcanological monitoring.

Location: Sicily, Italy
Coordinates: 37.751568, 14.993376
Volcano Type: Stratovolcano

 

Etna’s Location

 

Etna’s Latest Status

2024: Currently Active

 

Mount Etna’s Eruptive History

6190 BCE Oldest radiocarbon dated eruption
1968 Frequent explosions and lava flows
1970’s Explosive eruptions create new cones, craters and lava flows. In 1974 and following a collapse, a lava lake formed as a result. This quickly drained, creating a 1km long flow. 1977 -Frequent eruptions and fire fountaining
1980’s Significant lava flows, strombolian activity and ash emissions. Considerable flank seismicity.
1990’s Ongoing flank lava flows and explosive activity. Discharging lava flows at new vents and fissures observed.
2001 Incredible 200-m-tall fountain of lava observed. A newly formed cone titled “M2” created. Five separate vents were active and discharging simultaneously.
2002 2002 was marked with some historically significant flank eruptions. The magma mixed with groundwater creating phreatomagmatic eruptions.
2003 Smaller ash eruptions and red glow observed.
2004 New effusive eruption, lava flows.
2005 New effusive eruption. Lava tubes developed. Ongoing degassing and ash eruptions
2006 An upper E-flank fissure eruption. Lava flows from multiple vents
2007 New effusive eruption, lava flows. Long duration fire fountaining to 100m and lava flows extending to 4.6km
2008 Onset of a new paroxysmal eruptive episode.
2009 Many months of quiet activity, before resuming eruptive episodes
2011 A new eruptive fissure opened on the west flank. Sustained lava fountaining, flows and ash columns.
2013 Ongoing paroxysmal eruptive episodes. Strombolian eruptions at the Bocca Nuova crater.
2014 Multiple lava flows. A landslide occurred, creating a reddish ash plume.
2015 Strombolian eruptions, ash emissions and new vents open up.
2016 Lava flows and subsidence in some of the craters.
2017 Strombolian eruptions from the new southeast crater. Significant lava flows reaching the base of the volcano.
2018 Small strombolian eruptions (from Bocca Nuova crater) and some smaller eruptions from the new southeast crater.
2019 A new vent opened up under the NE rim. Five lava flows and numerous ash plumes observed.
2020 Ongoing activity at Etna’s Voragine Crater (including Strombolian explosions), New Southeast Crater (NSEC), and Northeast Crater.
2021 Paroxysmal eruptions. Etna has been erupting with spectacular fashion – fire fountaining reaching over 1km high and producing strong ash and lapilli fall. At this stage, there has been 10 paroxysmal eruptions.
2022 A new fissure has opened up on the NE flank, producing a minor lava flow.
2023 Lava flows continue from the NE flank. In Dec of 2023, a series of new paroxysm eruptions occurred with fire fountaining and lava flows
2024 April: Mount Etna blows mesmerizing smoke rings, producing dozens of near perfectly formed rings.

 

Mount Etna Monitoring

Please refer to INGV for monitoring of this volcano.

 

Mount Etna Images