Italy's Volcanoes: The Cradle of Volcanology

Etna Decade Volcano, Italy
Eruption update:
11 June 1999

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Effusive vent

Looking into the mouth of an effusive vent near the hornitos at the southeastern base of the SE Cone, 10 June 1999

Lava flow map, June 1999

Sketch map of the Valle del Bove and area of the lava flow-field emplaced since 4 February 1999.
The lavas erupted during the period 1989-1993 are shown in various shades of pink, previous flows (since 1971) are shown in brighter color. 1995 to early 1999 lavas are not shown. NE=NE Crater; V=Voragine; BN=Bocca Nuova; SE=SE Cone; TDF=Torre del Filosofo; MO=Montagnola; RS=Rifugio Sapienza (only in large version of the map); MC=Monti Centenari. The large version of this map shows a larger area, a scale bar and an index map.

WARNING: Access to the summit craters can be DANGEROUS. Weather conditions are often unstable, and there is always a risk of sudden explosive activity from the summit craters. As effusive activity from the fissure near the southeastern base of the SE Cone is gradually decreasing, renewed activity may be expected from the craters soon after the cessation of the lava outflow. Any person who enters the area beyond the Torre del Filosofo mountain hut (2900 m elevation) goes at his/her own risk and is not covered by any insurance in case a rescue operation (e.g., with helicopters) is necessary. The same is true for those who try to get close to the still-active effusive vents on the Valle del Bove slope.

A brief visit was made on the late afternoon of 10 June to the active effusive vents near the SE Cone by Boris Behncke and Francesca Ghisetti of the Istituto di Geologia e Geofisica of Catania University (IGGUC). Since Behncke's previous visit on 4 June, the output of lava from the 4 February eruptive fissure has increased notably while only one ephemeral vent continues to emit lava on the western Valle del Bove slope. The active vents on the 4 February fissure are located only about 10-20 m below the hornitos at the upper end of the fissure, and effusive activity has shifted tens of meters upslope during the past 4 weeks.

10 June 1999 photos
10 June 1999 10 June 1999
Left: Main effusive vent at the hornitos, a common view in recent months.
Right: A farewell to the ephemeral vents on the western slope of the Valle del Bove. This was the only site where lava effusion still took place on 10 June, feeding a very sluggish flow which ceased soon afterwards.

While there was one vigorous effusive vent located right on the fissure, lava also issued from numerous places within and on the margins of recent flows which have accumulated on the southwestern side of the lava field emplaced since 4 February. A well-fed flow moved down the northern side of that lava field and appears to have spilled over the rim of Valle del Bove to the north of the previously emplaced lavas. Dust clouds generated by rockfalls and bluish fumes indicated lava moving in that area which was not accessible. The ephemeral vent on the western Valle del Bove slope, in the area of the tumulus collapsed on 19 May emitted a sluggish flow that advanced only a few meters downslope, and there was no effusive activity elsewhere in that area. This indicates that supply to its feeder tube is much reduced, probably causing the increased surface lava emission below the hornitos.

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