Italy's Volcanoes: The Cradle of Volcanology

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1986-87 eruption

Lava fountaining on a November 1986 evening, and lava flowing from numerous vents in the northern part of Valle del Bove. View is from the northern rim of Valle del Bove looking southwest; photo by Carmelo Sturiale.

The 1986-1987 Valle del Bove eruption

Map of the 1986-1987 lava flows

1986-87 lava flow map

Simple map showing the 1986-1987 lava flow-field in red and lava flows erupted between 1971 and 1986 in pink color. Note that the lava flow from NE Crater (in the upper left of the map) was erupted between 14 and 23 September 1986 while the flows from the SE Crater and within Valle del Bove are of the eruption of 30 October 1986 to 27 February 1987. TDF is Torre del Filosofo, M is Montagnola, and RS is Rifugio Sapienza.

Photos of the 1986-1987 eruption

The following photos (except the last two) were taken by Carmelo Sturiale (+1988), at that time volcanologist at the University of Catania. The 1986-1987 eruption was the last flank eruption of Etna which Sturiale lived to see. The photos were kindly provided by his son, Giovanni, now at the Dipartimento di Scienze Geologiche of the University of Catania. Many of these photos have never been published before.

1986-87 eruption 1986-87 eruption

View from the northern rim of Valle del Bove of the northeasternmost part of the eruptive fissure system in November 1986, during the first month of the eruption. Vigorous lava fountaining at the most active vent at right has begun to build a large pyroclastic cone, later to be named Monte Rittmann. Effusive activity is also occurring from vents further southwest (in the background).

1986-87 eruption 1986-87 eruption
1986-87 eruption 1986-87 eruption

Activity at the growing cone named Monte Rittmann on the evening of 18 December 1986, as observed from the northern rim of the Valle del Bove. Behind the fountain lies the snow-covered Valle del Leone (best visible in the first image), and above this, the prominent cone of NE Crater. The fuming main summit cone lies to the left of NE Crater.

1986-87 eruption 1986-87 eruption

Left: Looking from the southern rim of Valle del Bove towards the lava flows emitted by Monte Rittmann in January 1987. Eruptive vents are hidden by low clouds.
Right: The lava flows in the northern part of Valle del Bove are here seen one January 1987 evening from the area of Giarre, east the volcano.

1986-87 eruption 1986-87 eruption

Two photos taken from Monte Pomiciaro, on the southern rim of Valle del Bove, on an evening in January 1987. Only one main effusive vent remains active, but many ephemeral flows are active on the lava flow-field.

November 1986
Photos taken on the evening of 9 November 1986 by Giuseppe Scarpinati, showing Etna from the E, with the lava flows issuing from two fissures in the Valle del Bove
November 1986

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

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