Italy's Volcanoes: The Cradle of Volcanology

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Historical eruptions of Stromboli

Typical Strombolian activity during the night and during the day, photographed from the same observation point on 22 August 1994. Near continuous bursts of incandescent bombs and spatter rapidly built a cluster of small (20-30 m high) cones in the northernmost of the three active craters of the volcano. In the daylight view at right the dense pyroclastic fountain comes from a vent in front of the largest cone.

It is assumed that Stromboli is in virtually continuous eruption since at least 2500 years, and maybe up to 5000 years - that is, since the latest sector collapse which created the Sciara depression. In this section the dynamics of the eruptive activity are described, and an overview of the eruptive events during the historical period is given.

Indivdual eruptive events different from the "normal" activity of Stromboli, such as lava effusions and paroxysmal eruptions, are displayed in the Historic Record of Eruptions; some of these are discussed on separate pages.

"Normal" activity is defined here as Strombolian explosions occurring at irregular intervals lasting from 5 minutes to >1 hour, with explosions consisting of short (i.e., less than 1 minute) bursts of incandescent lava fragments, ash, or both together. Part of the "normal" activity is characterized as well by the presence of active lava (small lava ponds) in one or more vents. Activity departing from "normal" is defined as prolonged Strombolian bursts or fountaining (>1 minute), strong explosions with block and bomb ejection onto the Pizzo sopra la Fossa or beyond, pyroclastic flows (glowing avalanches), and emission of lava flows.

More important eruptions are briefly described to give an impression of what may occur, although rarely, at Stromboli (see sample: 1930 eruption, below). For a comprehensive picture of Stromboli's long-term activity (i.e., in the course of several years), the period 1985-1995 is summarized and analyzed (including personal accounts of seven visits in six years). This may be taken as largely representative, although events on a scale comparable to that of the 1919 or 1930 eruptions did not occur during this period.

Continue with:

Stromboli's major historic eruptive events
Stromboli before 1930
The eruption of 1930
Activity from 1930 until 1985
Activity from 1985 until 1995: A decade in the history of Stromboli
Part 1: General developments
Part 2: The story in detail
Part 3: images
Activity from 1996 to present


Copyright © Boris Behncke, "Italy's Volcanoes: The Cradle of Volcanology"

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