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The Institute of Volcanology (INGV) statement took a while to arrive, but in the end it declared what all of us inhabitants – and lucky tourists – were already seeing. The explosive activity of the Voragine crater, one of the four summits of Etna, increased dramatically during the afternoon and evolved into a lava fountain starting around 6.30pm.

In detail: from the network of surveillance cameras we see that the Strombolian activity at the Voragine crater has evolved into a lava fountain and produces a column that reaches a height of approximately 4500 m above sea level and propagates in the SE direction. The fallout of ash on several towns in the south-eastern Etna area and as far as Catania was also reported.

Etna show

The spectacle currently visible is that of a high column of dense, dark smoke, bringing with it lapilli and ash, already falling on the southern side of Etna – between Belpasso and Catania – resulting in the preventive closure of the Fontanarossa airport . However, the wind is moving the column of ash towards the coast of Acireale. Together with the ash column, very high lava fountains can be seen, which offer an exceptional show especially from the western side (to the east the scene is partially covered by the South East crater and the clouds). Like all Mount Etna eruptions, this one could also surprise and last a few hours only … or have a longer evolution. The INGV also noted significant ground deformations, the consequences of which can only be verified once the event is over.

Evolution of the event

Recall that the Voragine had begun to expel gas from a small intracrater cone only a few weeks ago. The cone then grew together with the spectacle of the Strombolian fountains, and many tourists were able to admire it up close when they reached the opposite edge of the large crater. Fortunately, recent signals had led the Civil Protection to raise the alert level and block the guided excursions already in the early afternoon today… that is, a few hours before the actual eruption began … certainly more powerful and dangerous. Over the next few hours we will update on possible developments.

A curiosity…

A curiosity: Stromboli began an increase in its eruptive activity at the same time as that of Etna and erupted with a “major” event a few hours before Etna. This made the coincidence appear like a nice long-distance duel between the two Sicilian volcanoes, always among the most active in the world.


Autore: Grazia Musumeci

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