Live Mount Etna Eruption 01/04/2021
While activity and volcanic tremor at the SE crater complex overall continue to increase, the action seems to be been taking a different path this time, when compared to what happened in the build-up phases before the previous 16 paroxysms:
Already early this morning, around 3:30 am local time, a new effusive vent opened on the southern base of the crater complex at approx. 3000 m elevation and began to feed several small lava flows towards the SSW, S and SSE.
The volcano observatory reported that the SSW and S lava flows appeared poorly fed and their fronts were confined between 2800 – 2900 m asl. The SSE flow was more voluminous and had almost reached the edge of the Valle del Bove by early evening. This activity is strongly increasing at the time of update and it is still unclear whether it will produce lava fountains.
In any case, today marks a significant change in the behavior of the New SE crater, at least when it comes to its manifestation at the surface. Activity essentially has moved back to a location more to the S or SW of the cone, rather than continuing to propagate towards the eastern end of the feeding conduit. In addition, a vent at a lower location might mean that the summit vents have become more difficult for the magma column to reach.
Usually, before the onset of lava fountaining, activity had almost always begun at the summit vents of the SE cone complex, followed by a lava flow emerging from the eastern end of the eruptive fracture, which cuts through the upper parts of the cone.
Eventually, especially during the first paroxysms, other vents along the S and SW parts of the fracture activated as well, also feeding fountains and often a smaller lava flow to the S or SW. During March, activity gradually had moved more and more to the eastern end, with no activity at the southern and western end any more. This clearly has changed now.
What happens on Europe’s most active volcano remains fascinating to follow!