Update ETNA, Dec. 3, 2015, at 09:30 UTC
After a progressive intensification on the evening of December 2, 2015, the eruptive activity in the crater of Voragine (often also called « Central ») of Etna, peaked in the early hours of December 3, but in a short paroxysm very violent, with a large fountain and lava eruption column of several kilometers high. The excellent weather conditions have allowed the observation of the event with the visual surveillance cameras and thermal network of the INGV–Osservatorio Etneo, and from many places around the volcano.
The highlight of the paroxysm occurred between 2:20 and 3:10 UTC (local time = -1) when a sustained lava fountain reaches a height of over 1 km. Some incandescent jets of matter reached the height of 3 km above the summit of the volcano. The pyroclastic cloud of material was moved by the wind to the north, causing ash fall on the villages of Linguaglossa, Francavilla di Sicilia, Milazzo, Messina and Reggio Calabria. At dawn, the eruptive activity had almost ceased, although some weak ash emissions still occur since the Voragine and the Northeast crater and the small pits crater that opened recently on the upper side of the New Southeast Crater.
The paroxysmal event last night was among the most violent of Etna in the last two decades. The Voragine was the same place of the two particularly intense paroxysms of July 22, 1998 and September 4, 1999, with similar characteristics to the paroxysm of 3 December 2015. Both have produced lava fountains, which in the case of 4 September 1999, had risen to 2000 m high and eruptive columns (that of July 22, 1998 reached a height of 12 km above the sea level) with abundant pyroclastic material relapse in Southern sector of the volcano in the first case, and the eastern sector in the second.
Even in the past, Voragine was honored for its ability to produce exceptionally violent paroxysms, as in February 1947, July-August 1960, in August 1989.
A more detailed report will be published shortly on this site.
December 04 , 2015. Etna, Sicily :
Source : INGV
Photo : La Repubblica.