Do you plan to visit
Etna in the near future?
The world-famous Etna telecamera maintained by the "Sistema Poseidon" (now part of the newly constituted Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia) has been off-line since the onset of the July 2001 flank eruption. It has been saved before very strong explosive activity from nearby vents destroyed the hut where it was located. For more information from the INGV about the July-August 2001 summit-flank eruption (including very frequent updates, maps and a few photos), visit this new page; see also links at bottom of this page
The latest update is near the bottom of this page
September 2001 update.
has been no eruptive activity anywhere on Etna since 10 August, the
day when the spectacular and destructive summit-flank eruption ended
after little more than three weeks. Unfortunately, since then there
have been more victims caused by (essentially easily avoidable) accidents
than have been caused by eruptive activity at Etna in the past 14
years. On 22 August, a couple from Switzerland was killed by lightning
in the Punta Lucia area at about 2900 m elevation, only about 1 km
W of the Northeast Crater. They had climbed from Piano Provenzana
on the northern flank and were neither equipped for the tour (both
wore sandals and light clothes) nor were they prepared for the unstable
weather which usually affects the Etna region in late August-September.
A similar accident had occurred almost exactly two years before, when
an Israelian tourist was killed by lightning at about 2000 m elevation
on the northern flank.
September 2001 update.
2001 will remain in human memory as one of the most mournful days
of modern history, and the bit of news that comes with this update
from Etna seems absolutely bland compared to the shock and terror
which overwhelmed the world on that day. What ever has been said about
Etna in the mass media during the large eruption of July-August 2001,
it is necessary to underline that volcanoes only do what the physical
laws of this planet force them to do, and those who live nearby usually
know very well that they coexist with potentially dangerous neighbors
and take that risk.
28 September 2001 update. No new information is available about the current state of the summit craters of Etna, but it is possible that some deep-seated explosive activity is continuing in the Bocca Nuova, as gas emissions from that crater have appeared more vigorous at times during the past few weeks. While a dense gas plume is rising rather passively from the Northeast Crater, a somewhat more dilute plume coming from the Bocca Nuova is sometimes rising in distinct "puffs". All other areas on Etna appear currently quiet. The new cones formed during the July-August 2001 eruption on the S flank (mainly at 2570 and 2100 m elevation) are still emitting heat and minor amounts of gas, but it can be excluded that there will be any further activity at these sites. It is hoped to obtain new information about the current activity during a summit visit planned for the next few days.
5 October 2001 update. No new daylight observations of activity at the summit craters of Etna have been made, mostly due to cloud cover. Regular observations made by Giuseppe Scarpinati (Italian delegate of the Paris-based "Association Européenne Volcanologique") after nightfall has not revealed any incandescence at the summit or elsewhere. Etna thus seems to continue in relative quiet, and a resumption of visible eruptive activity might occur sometime during the forthcoming months.
October 2001 update.
is not much to say about eruptive activity at Etna in this moment.
It seems that the volcano is currently quiet, with only some degassing
taking place at the summit craters, mostly at the Northeast Crater.
To mention a non-eruptive event that has taken place recently, a portion
of the western crater rim of the scoria cone formed during the July-August
2001 eruption at 2100 m elevation has collapsed into the vent, blocking
a narrow open pit that was visible there at least through late September.
The exact time of this collapse is unknown. The collapsed sector of
the crater rim had been crowded with tourists during the weeks after
the eruption although extensive fracturing around the vent had indicated
that collapse was likely.
The July-August 2001 eruption and its precursors (the spectacular paroxysmal eruptive episodes at the Southeast Crater in June-July 2001) are featured on many web pages that contain additional information, highly spectacular images, and video clips. These will hopefully make up for the lack of photos on this page (I will post them as soon as I have my office computer back to working fully)
The July-August 2001 eruption - a new page on this web site, with an in-depth analysis of the events and related public reactions, mass media coverage, eruptive products, morphological changes, and a discussion of the recent paper in "Nature" about the changing behavior of Etna. Includes a map and press photos
Alain Catté (Association Volcanologique Européenne) is currently working on a page on the 2001 eruption (we went together to see the incredibly spectacular activity at the "Monte del Lago" (also called "cono del laghetto") one evening during the eruption)
Alain Melchior, also from Belgium and partner in crime of Jean-Louis Piette, has set up his Etna 2001 page, with nice 3D animations and digital elevation models of Etna and photos, video clips and other items are planned to appear on this site soon
Copyright © Boris Behncke, "Italy's Volcanoes: The Cradle of
Page set up on 27 May 1997, last modified on 16 October 2001