Italy's Volcanoes: The Cradle of Volcanology

Etna volcano, Italy
Eruption update (discontinued)
17 September 2004
All times are local (GMT+2 h)


Etna is monitored by the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, which provides on-line information on the state of the active volcanoes in Sicily (Etna and Stromboli), it furthermore offers live-cam views of Etna

"Etna Trekking", an organization of mountain guides and tourist operators in Linguaglossa, offers two further live-cam views of Etna from south and from north

17 September 2004 update. There is a bit of news that has to be reported on this page, which is not related to the current eruption of Mount Etna, and it is bad news. On 15 September 2004, a French hiker was killed by lightning in the Montagnola area, at 2640 m elevation on the south flank of the volcano. In that moment, a violent thunderstorm had developed over the mountain (which also deposited a significant quantity of hail that gave Etna a "winterly" appearance thereafter). According to a report in the local newspaper "La Sicilia" (17 September 2004), the victim, a 49-years old mountain guide (!) from Paris, had climbed to the area alone in spite of the increasingly bad weather. It seems that he intended to check the conditions for viewing the active lava flows before leading an excursion group to the place during the following days.
Unfortunately, this is only the latest in a series of similar accidents in a few years. Since 1999, four people have been killed by lightning on the flanks of Etna: one man in 1999 at Monte Conca near Piano Provenzana, and a young couple near Punta Lucia (~2900 m elevation) in 2001. Furthermore, one man was injured by lightning at the Monti Silvestri (near the "Nicolosi Nord" tourist station at ~1900 m) in 2003. Three more people were killed in other accidents on Etna during the past 15 years, most recently in 2001 when a Spanish visitor disappeared within one of the pits of the Bocca Nuova. In contrast, two people have been killed directly by eruptive activity during the past 25 years, and the latest accident dates back to 1987. This shows clearly that the risk of being killed by lightning or other types of accidents is much higher than that of dying from the effects of an eruption.
Detailed information and regular updates regarding the current activity of Mount Etna is provided by the Catania section of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV-CT), where there are also photos and maps of the evolving lava flow fields; the institute maintains two web cams in Catania ("CUAD", at the south base of Etna) and Milo (east flank). The INGV-CT furthermore submits frequent updates to the Volcano Listserver, which are subsequently synthesized in the
weekly eruption updates of the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program. The Hotel Corsaro, located at about 1900 m elevation on the south flank of Mount Etna, provides a comprehensive list of web cams pointed on the ongoing eruption of the volcano, some of them are new and show close-up views of the eruptive fissure and lava flow. This has also a nice little page showing how old friends are treated by the Corsaro Brothers running the hotel (photos courtesy of Gerlinde Knapp). Finally, Charles Rivière's "Etna Volcan Sicilien" reports the author's own observations and also contains numerous photographs and movie clips.

7 September 2004 update. Information regarding the current state of Mount Etna's activity is provided by the Catania section of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV-CT) and Charles Rivière's "Etna Volcan Sicilien" (the latter also includes photographs).

21 March 2004 update. Updating of this page will be discontinued from now on. I am really sorry for that but this is a necessary step, for a number of reasons, including serious time constraints as I am engaged in a number of scientific and educational activities. However, photographs and summarizing descriptions of future eruptive events will be posted on this site. Furthermore, reference will be made to other sources of information in the case of renewed eruptive activity. The first place to look at is "Etna Volcan Sicilien", whose author Charles Rivière frequently visits Etna and faithfully shares his observations and photographs on-line. Scientific information on significant eruptive events is provided by the Catania section of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV-CT), whose staff frequently provides reports via the Volcano Listserver and in the Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network. "Italy's Volcanoes" will continue to serve as a prime source of information regarding the Italian volcanoes, aiming at placing individual volcanoes and their eruptive histories into a broader context in space and time. In any case, the demise of the Etna news falls into a period when there is very little to report on the volcano, which has given us a highly welcome period of quiet after nearly eight years of frantic activity. The archived news documenting much of that period provide a vivid impression of my early years at Etna; they comprise an enormous treasure of experiences and emotions and represent a unique "diary" of a life on an active volcano. Although you will no longer find any "hot news" regarding Etna on this site, I hope that you will continue to enjoy visiting "Italy's Volcanoes" and explore the fascinating world of the volcanoes in this beautiful country.

Archived Etna news
9-31 July 2000 1-12 July 1999
21-26 June 2000 20-28 June 1999
July 2003 5-14 June 2000 11 June 1999
July 2003 31 May - 4 June 2000 4 June 1999
June 2003 23-29 May 2000 20 May 1999
10 January - 28 April 2003 17-20 May 2000 13 May 1999
2-24 December 2002 5-16 May 2000 April 1999
18-29 November 2002 26-27 April 2000 11-31 March 1999
5-15 November 2002 14-22 April 2000 1-10 March 1999
2 June 2002 30 March - 9 April 2000 February 1999
3 April - 13 May 2002 16-27 March 2000 January 1999
14 November 2001 - 29 March 2002 28 February - 14 March 2000 December 1998
8 September - 16 October 2001 18-26 February 2000 November 1998
22 July - 15 August 2001 13-16 February 2000 October 1998
3-5 July 2001 7-12 February 2000 September 1998
30 June - 1 July 2001 1-6 February 2000 August 1998
13-15 June 2001 18-29 January 2000 1-15 July 1998
25 May - 12 June 2001 27 December 1999 - 12 January 2000 June 1998
10-18 May 2001

9-21 December 1999

May 1998
26 March - 27 April 2001

2-12 November 1999

March-April 1998
3 February - 23 March 2001

27-28 October 1999

February 1998
9-23 January 2001

20-21 October 1999

January 1998
1 November - 22 December 2000

7-18 October 1999

December 1997
14-28 October 2000

27 September - 5 October 1999

May-November 1997
10 September - 11 October 2000 10-21 September 1999  
20-29 August 2000 24-28 July 1999  


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

Page set up on 27 May 1997, last modified on 17 September 2004

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