Small but Beautiful Eruption at Mount Etna

by mcardinal

Justin Bullock, FISM News


The legend of Pompeii lives on. On Saturday night, Mount Etna near Cantania, Italy on the island of Sicily experienced its 20th paroxysm this year. Saturday night’s paroxysm is the third such event at the volcano this month. Mt. Etna is one of the few volcanoes around the world that is in an almost constant state of activity.

The paroxysm involved a number of explosions near the summit as well as a small lava flow. The event was short as is typical for paroxysms at Mt. Etna only lasting from approximately 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. local time. A minor recurrence of explosions briefly took place around 2:30 a.m. but quickly ended.

Minor eruptions like the one Saturday night are a regular occurrence at Mt. Etna and have been documented since 1500 B.C. These minor eruptions have been benign but spectacular events in the modern era and have generated a rich ecosystem at the base of the volcano where vineyards and other beautiful vegetation abound due to the mineral rich volcano soil. The volcano is also a regular tourist destination, as well as a great research location for scientists.