Since the evening of 17 May 2016, there has been an intense Strombolian activity at Etna’s Northeast Crater (NEC), with ejection of incandescent bombs above the crater rim and fall of pyroclastics over the flanks of the cone. This morning, 18 May, this activity was also accmpanied by emission of volcanic ash forming a plume that was blown eastward by the wind and rapidly dispersed in the atmosphere .
There were also weak glows at the 25 November 2015 vent on the upper east flank of the New Southeast Crater (NSEC). The volcanic tremor amplitude remained elevated at values similar to those reached on the evening before. On the late forenoon, a clinometer installed at Punta Lucia, at nearly 3000 m elevation and about 1 km northwest of the NEC, recorded rapid inflation (swelling) of the summit area.
Shortly after 12:50 local time on 18 May 2016, the visual and thermal surveillance cameras of the INGV-OE recorded the onset of eruptive activity at the Voragine (VOR), which in just a few minutes evolved into a pulsating lava fountain. At the same time, the Strombolian activity at the NEC diminished and passed into emission of dark ash, and finally ended. The image at left is a frame captured by the thermal monitoring camera at Bronte (EBT), about 45 minutes after the onset of the activity at the VOR. With the beginning of paroxysmal activity, the volcanic tremor amplitude showed a rapid increase, and its source migrated from a position below the NEC toward the VOR. From the Voragine an ash plume rose to 3000-3500 m above the summit and was blown by the wind to east-southeast. During the afternoon lava started to overflow from the western rim of the Voragine-Bocca Nuova depression, feeding a minor lava flow toward west, and limited to the summit area.
At the time this update is being published, lava fountaining is continuing at the VOR. The eruptive activity is monitored continuously by the systems of video and thermal cameras, seismic stations and ground deformation.
This morning, the tremor is still very high, and the seismic recordings in real time show that the activity taken over after a break last night. The weather was overcast on Mount Etna, so you might not see anything, unfortunately.
Pictures of that night on social networks show a large lava flow down to the Valle del Bove …
May 19, 2016.Etna , Sicily :
Photos: Francesco Butano