Etna’s Voragine in action, 24-25 May 2016

Etna’s Voragine in action, 24-25 May 2016 – These are video snippets recorded during the latest episode of eruptive activity at the summit craters of Mount Etna in Sicily, which started on the evening of 24 May 2016 and is continuing as of the late afternoon of 25 May. Differently from the more violent but short-lived episodes at the same crater on 18, 19 and 21 May, this activity consists of countless explosions that launch incandescent fragments of lava into the air. This type of activity is known as “Strombolian”, after the active volcano Stromboli on the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily, which displays the same type of activity, though normally on a less intense scale. The crater that is the site of the current activity is known as Voragine (Big Mouth), but often also called “Central Crater”, although in reality it is only a part of the former Central Crater, whereas the other part is called Bocca Nuova (New Mouth); these two craters have largely coalesced during the latest summit eruptions, in December 2015 and May 2016, to form something like a new Central Crater. The video was recorded from my home in the village of Tremestieri Etneo, 20 km south of Etna’s summit; the first scene shows the most intense activity – weak lava fountaining – on the evening of 24 May, whereas all following scenes were recorded from sunrise to early morning on the next day. Note in particular the loud detonations audible in the latter part of the footage, which can be heard above the increasing commuters’ traffic.

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