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Most recent updates
Part 12: Activity at New SE and other summit vents (May 2017 - Dec 2020)
Part 11: Lava flow episodes from SE crater (July 2016 - Mar 2017)
Paroxysms in Voragine in May 2015 (Dec 2015-June 2016)
Paroxysms from Voragine in Dec 2015
Paroxysms from NSEC in Feb and May, weak summit activity (Jan-Nov 2015)
Intermittent ash emissions and lava flows from New SE crater (May 2014 - Jan 2015)
Lava flows and strombolian activity at New SE crater, pyroclastic flow 11 Feb (Jan-April 2014)
Paroxysms and lava flows from New SE crater (Dec 2013)
Paroxysms from New SE crater (Nov 2013)
Paroxysms from New SE crater and quiet (April-Oct 2013)
Paroxysms from New SE crater (Feb-Mar 2013)
Intermittent strombolian activity from Bocca Nuova and New SE crater (archived entries April 2012 - Jan 2013)
Etna's New SE crater paroxysm #25 on 24 April 2012 (archived entries 12-24 April 2012)
Etna's New SE crater paroxysm #24 on 12 April 2012 (archived entries 1-12 April 2012)
Etna's New SE crater paroxysm #23 on 1 April 2012 (archived entries 18 March - 1 April 2012)
Etna's New SE crater paroxysm #22 on 18 March 2012 (archived entries 4-18 March 2012)
Etna's New SE crater paroxysm #21 on 4 March 2012 (archived entries 18 Feb - 4 March 2012)
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Update Sun 07 Mar 2021 06:58
According to INGV, the eruption column has reached more than 10,000 m (30,000 ft) elevation above sea level and is drifting east.
Heavy ash fall in Giarre
Update Sun 07 Mar 2021 06:55
Sinister ambiance in Giarre under the current ash fall due to Etna's paroxym
Sinister ambiance in Giarre under the current ash fall due to Etna's paroxym
Lapilli of up to 3 cm fell in Giarre
Lapilli of up to 3 cm fell in Giarre
This is the view from Giarre town, located under the eruption plume about 20 km east of the craters. Heavy fall of black lapilli and ash from the ongoing paroxysm is visible.
News articles such as this one describe that the fallout from the paroxysm was indeed heavy in Giarre town and nearby locations such as Riposto and Mascali, showing impressive images of streets and other surfaces completely covered by a black ash and lapilli deposit, causing a near total stop of traffic.
Tall lava fountains rise from New SE crater
Update Sun 07 Mar 2021 06:35
Tall lava fountains from the New SE crater (image: INGV webcam)
Tall lava fountains from the New SE crater (image: INGV webcam)
Thermal view of the lava fountain (image: INGV wecam)
Thermal view of the lava fountain (image: INGV wecam)
The 10th paroxysm of Etna's New SE crater is well underway: Impressive lava fountains have begun to shoot into the sky from the New SE crater a short time ago, while a tall dark eruption column of volcanic fragments and gas rises several kilometers.
Westerly winds are pushing the eruption cloud eastwards, strong ash and lapilli fall is likely occurring in the villages and towns of Etna's eastern flank including Zafferana, Milo, Giarre...
Aviation Color Code has been raised to "RED".
10th paroxysm from New SE crater likely underway
Update Sun 07 Mar 2021 05:16
Intense strombolian activity at Etna's New SE crater (image: INGV webcam on Montagnola)
Intense strombolian activity at Etna's New SE crater (image: INGV webcam on Montagnola)
Corresponding view through the thermal webcam of INGV at the same site
Corresponding view through the thermal webcam of INGV at the same site
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
After 3 days of relative calm since the last lava fountaining episode known as paroxysm at the volcano's New SE crater, a new one seems to be underway now at the crater:
Accompanied by the typical steep rise of volcanic tremor, indicating magma moving upwards through the volcanic conduits, strombolian activity has been picking up at the summit vent of the New SE crater during the past hours, and now seems to be heading towards lava fountaining. Also, another typical sign for the impending paroxysm, a lava flow is issuing from the eruptive fissure cutting through the cone and flowing towards the eastern base of it. This is likely the mostly degassed older lava from the previous paroxysm left in the upper part of the conduit being pushed out by the rising fresher, and gas-rich magma about to erupt.
This marks the 10th paroxysm in a row in a remarkable series since 16 February. Intervals between individual eruptions have been very regular, ranging between 36 hours to 3.5 days only, and there are no signs that it this series is ending soon.
9th paroxysm with tall ash plume after less than 2 days
Update Thu 04 Mar 2021 15:10
This morning's eruption column and ash plume from Etna's eruption, seen from the east near Giarre
This morning's eruption column and ash plume from Etna's eruption, seen from the east near Giarre
Strombolian activity at the New SE crater during the first phase early morning
Strombolian activity at the New SE crater during the first phase early morning
After the first surge of activity had ceased, the lava flow was still incandescent at dawn
After the first surge of activity had ceased, the lava flow was still incandescent at dawn
Current tremor signal showing the double peak corresponding to the two phases of the eruption (image: INGV Catania)
Current tremor signal showing the double peak corresponding to the two phases of the eruption (image: INGV Catania)
Less than 2 days after the previous lava fountaining episode (known as paroxysm), the 9th paroxysm took place from Etna's New SE crater this morning.
At first, it looked as if the volcano was going to produce the eruption already in the early morning hours: around 2 am local time, mild to moderate strombolian activity started at the New SE crater and soon became near-continuous. A lava flow started to flow from the eastern end of the deep fissure cutting through the cone, and slowly traveled eastwards. At the same time, volcanic tremor started to rise.
However, this activity slowed down again after around 3:30 am and ceased at around dawn, but only to restart about an hour later. From around 8 am, it again increased and this time developed into sustained tall lava fountains between around 9:30-10:30 local time. A tall ash plume rose approx. 4-5 km above the crater and spread into an umbrella cloud that drifted east and caused heavy ash fall in some eastern sectors and as far as Messina town.
New SE crater calms down, while central crater shows impressive fireworks
Update Wed 03 Mar 2021 15:36
Residual lava effusion at New SE crater (l) and vigorous strombolian burst from Voragine (c) last night
Residual lava effusion at New SE crater (l) and vigorous strombolian burst from Voragine (c) last night
Closer view of the New SE crater with the cooling main lava flow from the previous paroxysm to the lower left and a small still active flow from the eastern end of its eruptive fissure
Closer view of the New SE crater with the cooling main lava flow from the previous paroxysm to the lower left and a small still active flow from the eastern end of its eruptive fissure
After yesterday's particularly long-lasting fire fountaining eruption from the New SE crater, activity had dropped back to similar levels as before.
Weak lava effusion, as well as secondary lava flows from sliding hot material on the steep slopes of the crater continued from the eruptive fissure of the New SE crater during the rest of the day and part of the night, but gradually died down.
Seemingly unaffected by the activity of its younger neighbor, the central summit crater Voragine has continued to show sometimes strong strombolian explosions at intervals ranging from 5-10 minutes. Judging from our visual impression over the past few days, this activity appeared to have increased since yesterday.
Whether or not Etna is heading to another paroxysm in the near future remains open to speculation, but based on the currently still quite regular rhythm of so far 8 episodes in just two weeks, it seems rather likely that another one could be expected to occur in the next 1,2 days.
New lava fountain episode showers villages with ash
Update Tue 02 Mar 2021 18:27
Lava fountain during Etna's paroxysm this afternoon (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
Lava fountain during Etna's paroxysm this afternoon (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
Eruption column above the New SE crater (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
Eruption column above the New SE crater (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
The ash plume bending towards the southern slopes during a short window of visibility (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
The ash plume bending towards the southern slopes during a short window of visibility (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
Golden sunlight filtered by volcanic ash and gasses with the eruption plume (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
Golden sunlight filtered by volcanic ash and gasses with the eruption plume (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
Tremor signal showing the latest eruption (image: INGV Catania)
Tremor signal showing the latest eruption (image: INGV Catania)
After little more than 2 days since Sunday's paroxysm, the 8th such episode of vigorous lava fountaining from the volcano's New SE crater occurred this afternoon. It was remarkable for its long duration.
Around noon, first signs of reactivation of the New SE crater could be noticed in the form of small, intermittent strombolian-type explosions. Starting from 13:24 local time, volcanic tremor began to rise sharply, the typical sign for the impending onset of a new paroxysm (lava fountaining episode).
The strombolian activity at the New SE crater quickly increased to become sustained lava fountains, which lasted for almost 2 and a half hours! Activity reached its climax around 15:00-15:30 and quickly decreased from 15:40 and ceased at 15:50. Unfortunately, most of the time, the summit region of Etna was hidden in clouds, but a brief window towards the end of the eruption allowed Tom and Marco to witness this extraordinary event from close.
As during the previous episodes, voluminous lava flows were erupted to the east into Valle del Bove and likely also to the south towards the Torre del Filosofo area.
A tall ash column rose to an unknown height, but of at least several kilometers. It was pushed and bent by northerly winds towards the south, where its fallout caused heavy ash fall on the southern slopes of Etna, in particular in Nicolosi village, San Gregorio, Trecastagni, Aci S. Antonio, Pedara as well as in the City of Catania.
The Fontanarossa airport of Catania was temporarily closed down due to the volcanic ash fall.
Volcano remains quiet for now
Update Tue 02 Mar 2021 09:48
Etna's summit region seen from the east this morning. New SE crater to the left, and a small ash plume emitted from the Voragine (center) is visible.
Etna's summit region seen from the east this morning. New SE crater to the left, and a small ash plume emitted from the Voragine (center) is visible.
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
For now, the volcano has remained mostly calm 48 hours since the latest lava fountaining episode.
Intermittent strombolian explosions with mild ash emissions continue from the Voragine crater, while the New SE crater is emitting steam and dilute ash plumes. At night, a glowing spot at the eastern end of the eruptive fissure could be seen, but no explosions.
Volcanic tremor levels are at low levels, something that can change quickly.
Bush fire in Valle del Bove raising speculations of new vent
Update Mon 01 Mar 2021 11:05
Residual activity at the New SE crater and bright glow from a vast bush fire near Monte Rinato last evening
Residual activity at the New SE crater and bright glow from a vast bush fire near Monte Rinato last evening
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
Weak activity continues last night at the New SE crater, with weak lava flow emission from the eastern end of the main eruptive fissure, but gradually ceased during the night.
Volcanic tremor has again decreased to low levels.
A significant bush fire started during the peak phase of yesterday's activity in the Valle del Bove near or on the southern slope of Monte Rinato. Initially, the appearance of fumes from this area raised speculations of a possible new vent in the Valle del Bove, but soon were discarded.
The cause of the fire remains speculative, but most likely, it was ignited by an exceptionally far-traveled hot volcanic bomb that landed in an area of dense, dry vegetation yesterday. As of this morning, the fire seems to have exhausted itself as no more fumes could be seen, while bright glow was visible last night (see picture).
During the whole time over the past days, intermittent strombolian explosions producing ash plumes rising a few 100 meters have been continuing from the main vent in the central Voragine summit crater. Presumably, mild strombolian activity also continues in Bocca Nuova, while the North-East crater produces dense gas and steam clouds only, but no visible incandescence.
Short but violent paroxysm number 7 blankets part of Sicily with black ash
Update Mon 01 Mar 2021 09:13
The ash plume of Etna's 8th paroxysm in late Feb 2021 (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
The ash plume of Etna's 8th paroxysm in late Feb 2021 (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
VIew of the lava fountain mostly hidden inside the ash and steam column (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
VIew of the lava fountain mostly hidden inside the ash and steam column (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
Square in Fornazzo village covered with black lapilli (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
Square in Fornazzo village covered with black lapilli (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
Ash-covered street and ads from local magicians ready to help (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
Ash-covered street and ads from local magicians ready to help (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
The latest lava fountaining episode, or paroxysm, occurred in the morning of Sunday 28 Feb 2021, after a longer interval than the previous six ones. After roughly three and a half day, the awaited number 7 episode of the current series of paroxysms occurred Sunday morning around 9 am local time.
Different from the previous ones, the activity increased from very low levels to strong lava fountains in an extremely very short time. First signs of reactivation of the New SE crater showed themselves around 8:40 am, with the appearance of strombolian bursts and a lava flow from the eastern summit vent.
This activity increased to lava fountaining within approx 30 minutes and had already reached the peak phase at around 9:20 am.
At that time, a tall eruption column rose several kilometers above the volcano's summit and spread into a large umbrella cloud similar to the preceding eruptions.
The lava fountaining phase abruptly ended after 9:40 am and was followed by a series of stronger explosions at the cone before activity dropped almost completely.
The ash cloud drifted east-southeastwards from the volcano and produced heavy ash fall in this sector of the volcano. Particularly affected villages included Zafferana, Milo and Fornazzo, where 1-2 cm black lapilli-sized ash, with fragments up to 1-2 cm quickly covered all surfaces. Members of the VolcanoDiscovery Team observed the eruption from approx. 10 km distance in a location between Fornazzo and Sant'Alfio, at the very edge of the ash fallout. Even there, black scoria of up to 3 cm in diameter were falling like hail during a storm, causing us to seek shelter under a roof.
Video of the ash plume:


Waiting for eruption number 7
Update Fri 26 Feb 2021 10:11
Lava fountain during Etna's paroxysm during 24-25 Feb night (image: Domenico Mazzaglia / facebook)
Lava fountain during Etna's paroxysm during 24-25 Feb night (image: Domenico Mazzaglia / facebook)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
If the amazingly regular current activity continues, a new lava fountaining episode known as paroxysm is likely to occur, and expected by many, during the following night.
Be sure to watch the various Etna webcams or various contributors, almost in real time, on our Facebook group

Clockwork Etna - 6th paroxysm in a row in little more than 7 days

Mi, 24. Feb 2021, 20:41
20:41 PM | VON: T
Lava fountain from Etna's New SE crater seen from the INGV webcam on Montagnola
Lava fountain from Etna's New SE crater seen from the INGV webcam on Montagnola
Thermal image of the lava fountains showing their size (image: thermal webcam of INGV on Montagnola)
Thermal image of the lava fountains showing their size (image: thermal webcam of INGV on Montagnola)
Currentr tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
Currentr tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
The amazing show at Europe's most active volcano goes on!
Following the amazingly regular pattern of paroxysms (fire-fountaining episodes) at almost identical intervals of around 35-48 hours, the 6th eruption in a row is now in full swing!
It seems to follow exactly the patterns observed during the previous events. Accompanied by increasing volcanic tremor, explosive activity from the New SE crater began to rise slowly this evening, and has now developed into tall, sustained lava fountains now reaching 500-700 m of meters in height, but still increasing!
Lava flows are traveling from the SE crater to the SW and East into the Valle del Bove, overlapping the previous ones.
Watch it live:
Waiting for a new eruption
Update Wed 24 Feb 2021 09:15
Mild strombolian activity early this morning at Etna's New SE crater
Mild strombolian activity early this morning at Etna's New SE crater
Current tremor signal - when will the next peak appear? (image: INGV Catania)
Current tremor signal - when will the next peak appear? (image: INGV Catania)
After the extremely powerful paroxysm (lava fountaining episode) during the night 22-23 Feb, which came as the 5th in a row following very regular intervals many people around the world are probably wondering whether the volcano will continue this remarkable series of eruptions.
If the last interval is an indicator as to when to expect a new paroxysm, it might well be in the course of the next night - something volcanologists, but also thousands of nearby residents, volcano spotters, and many more people from all over the world via webcams are certain to follow closely.
Since the end of the most recent activity, Etna has returned to intermittent mild summit activity from at least 4 of its summit vents, and volcanic tremor levels, kindly provided in real time by the National Institute of Volcanology and Geophysics (INGV) in Catania, are currently low. When this changes, be prepared for another show of fire! What we don't know from the publicly available data is whether the volcano currently inflates, which would be an indication that the volcano is about to recharge itself. This leaves us with the fun to speculate!
Etna erupts lava fountains over 1000 m high
Update Tue 23 Feb 2021 07:41
Tall lava fountains more than 1000 m high and spectacular eruption column from last night's paroxysm on Etna (image: Giorgio Costa / facebook)
Tall lava fountains more than 1000 m high and spectacular eruption column from last night's paroxysm on Etna (image: Giorgio Costa / facebook)
Lava fountain during the eruption (image: Massimo Lo Giudice / facebook)
Lava fountain during the eruption (image: Massimo Lo Giudice / facebook)
The eruption seen from Linguaglosso on the NE (image: Massimo Lo Giudice / facebook)
The eruption seen from Linguaglosso on the NE (image: Massimo Lo Giudice / facebook)
Thermal image from Nicolosi showing the impressive height of the fountains (image: INGV Catania)
Thermal image from Nicolosi showing the impressive height of the fountains (image: INGV Catania)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
Once more, Etna produced a very impressive show of unsurpassed fireworks at night: The - awaited - 5th lava fountaining episode (known as paroxysm) occurred late at night and turned out to be particular violent, equal or even stronger than the previous one 48 hours earlier. It was the 5th in a row during a single week's time!

The events building up to the eruption were quite typical and similar to the previous paroxysms: at first, the until-then intermittent and mild strombolian activity from the New SE crater gradually picked up, starting from around 10 pm local time. At the same time, volcanic tremor started to show a steep increase, sign of magma moving upwards inside the volcano's conduits.
The activity began to turn into sustained lava fountains from around midnight, and continued to increase in intensity. Around 00:30, the activity reached its peak phase with very tall lava fountains surpassing 1000 m height! An impressive eruption column of ash and steam rose to probably more than 10 km altitude and spread into an impressive, near-circular umbrella cloud towering over eastern Sicily.
At around 1:05 am, activity quickly ceased, with a phase of reactivation during approx. 4.40 and 6 am, when a series of strong explosions occurred at the SE crater complex.
Similarly to the previous events, lava flows were erupted to the SW and the east of the New SE crater into Valle del Bove, reaching similar lengths as before.
Image sources:
- Giorgio Costa (facebook)
- Massimo Lo Giudice (facebook)

New lava fountaining eruption underway, 5th in a row now
Update Mon 22 Feb 2021 21:42
Intense strombolian activity at the eastern vent of the New SE crater
Intense strombolian activity at the eastern vent of the New SE crater
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
Yet another phase of lava fountaining, or paroxysms, is almost certainly about to start now. Volcanic tremor has started to rise sharply from low to now already high levels, and strombolian activity at the eastern vent of the New SE crater is becoming more and more intense and near-continuous.
The 5th paroxysm in a row and within a single week comes after a slightly longer interval, approx. 48 hours, than the very regular roughly 35 hours intervals between each of the previous four events.
Given that the last one was very intense compared to the first three, it might not be surprising. Maybe the time to recharge or reproduce the right conditions deeper below for a new gas-rich batch of fresh magma to start rising just took a bit longer.
When will be the next eruption?
Update Mon 22 Feb 2021 08:16
tremor22feb21.png
Once more, about 35 hours have now passed since the latest lava fountaining episode (paroxysm) at the volcano. If the pattern visible as the volcanic tremor spikes continues, a new one could be expected to start in the coming hours...
Powerful lava fountains rise up to 1000 m at Europe's most active volcano
Update Sun 21 Feb 2021 17:08
View of the eruption at night with its impressive umbrella cloud (image: Massiimo Lo Giudice / facebook)
View of the eruption at night with its impressive umbrella cloud (image: Massiimo Lo Giudice / facebook)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
Last night's eruptive episode of tall lava fountains, known as paroxysm, turned out to be one of the most impressive and powerful in recent years. Not only did it produce higher fire fountains than usually, but also it lasted longer than most other paroxysms.
Around 10:30 p.m. local time, volcanic tremor and strombolian activity from the New SE crater began to increase drastically. Half an hour later, a first lava flow started to descend from the eastern summit vent of the crater, and activity continued to increase, soon forming fountains of a few hundred meters tall.
However, instead of peaking (and decreasing) very soon, activity continued to increase and first reached its climax at around 00:30 this morning, with fire fountains reaching the incredible heights of 800-1000 m! Thanks to the near-absence of wind, a tall eruption column of over 10 km height formed with a circular umbrella cloud at the boundary between troposphere and stratosphere (see attached image by Massimo Lo Giudice on facebook)
The eruption ended abruptly at 2 a.m., thus having produced sustained lava fountains for almost 3 hours!

Time-lapse video of the eruption:


The National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV Catania) reported that during the eruption, at least 3 vents of the New SE crater were active. The first lava flow from the so-called saddle vent descended to the southwest towards the Torre del Filosofo area, but eventually only reached a few hundred meters length. Most lava was directed into a more voluminous flow traveling east into the Valle del Bove, where it reached a length of 3.5-4 km and stopped in similar areas as the ones from the previous paroxysms, at elevations between 1700-1800 m.
The eruptive activity had dropped already, but the New SE crater reactivated itself in a series of approx. 20 very violent explosions between 04:30-05:15 local time, which launched incandescent bombs beyond the base of the cone.
After 05:15, no more eruptive activity was observed at the New SE crater, while mild strombolian activity is continuing from the other summit vents (Bocca Nuova, Voragine).
It will be interesting to see whether Etna continues its current rhythmic pattern of paroxysms every roughly 35 hours. If so, the 5th of the current series should occur around noon tomorrow...
4th lava fountaining eruption within 5 days comes at remarkable same interval since previous
Update Sat 20 Feb 2021 22:57
Lava fountain from Etna's New SE crater during the paroxysm on 20-21 Feb 2021 (image: thermal webcam INGV Catania)
Lava fountain from Etna's New SE crater during the paroxysm on 20-21 Feb 2021 (image: thermal webcam INGV Catania)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
The 4th paroxysm within little more than 4 days is occurring at the time of this update! Starting in the evening of 20 Feb 2021, the explosive activity at the New SE crater gradually increased and developed into sustained lava fountains now approx. 300 m tall, and still rising.
A lava flow has started to descend towards the Valle del Bove and although obscured by the night, a tall ash and steam plume is rising above the summit region of the volcano. As spectacular as it looks, these eruptions pose no threat to inhabited areas, although the ash plumes can be dangerous to aircraft and the lapilli and ash falls are a (rather common) nuisance to the downwind areas around the volcano.
It is remarkable to see that tonight's paroxysm came at almost exactly the same interval as the intervals between the preceding paroxysms on 16 Feb evening, 18 Feb early morning, and 19 Feb late morning, i.e. each approx. 35 hours after the previous one.
What causes such regular eruptions?
The current, remarkably cyclic occurrence of these short, but very violent lava fountain phases at near-perfectly regular intervals is certainly an extraordinary and rare event, but has been observed at Etna several times in the past, such as in 2000 and 2012-13. Intervals between paroxysms ranging from 12 hours or less to several days.
What causes this regularity exactly is not fully understood, but the cyclic behavior at the surface is certainly linked to a combination of processes deeper below, which govern the rise of fresh, gas-rich magma from deeper reservoirs, capable to produce fountains when erupted at the surface. This hotter magma obviously rises in separate batches, like large bubbles from a leak, at regular intervals as opposed to a more or less constant flow of magma.The latter, however, is a more common type of behavior, resulting in prolonged phases of activity at moderate levels, much as had been observed for weeks and months in a row during the past few years.
This difference is also reflected by the tremor amplitude: while extreme during the short paroxysms, it has been much lower during the intervals as during the weeks before, where activity fluctuated around an intermediate average value.
In other words, right now, Etna seems to be in a different state of transporting magma from its reservoirs to the surface, one characterized by generally very low rates of flux interrupted by short, extreme bursts of activity when individual batches make their way upwards.
How long the current pattern will last and where it might lead to, can only be guessed.
Update Sat 20 Feb 2021 20:19
UPDATE: tremor is rising sharply by the minute - it appears almost certain that the 4th paroxysm is now about to start!
Rising tremor - maybe new paroxysm underway?
Update Sat 20 Feb 2021 20:14
Strombolian explosion at Etna's New SE crater this evening (image: LAVE webcam)
Strombolian explosion at Etna's New SE crater this evening (image: LAVE webcam)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
As the same time interval (approx. 35 hours) as between the past 3 lava fountaining episodes or paroxysms has now passed since the last eruption yesterday morning, it is now a guessing game whether Etna is now heading to produce the 4th in a new series.
It might well be: during the past hours, strombolian activity from the New SE crater and volcanic tremor have been showing an increasing trend, but it is still to early to be sure.
It might be worth following the activity during the next hours on the numerous Etna volcano webcams...
Eruption ends
Update Fri 19 Feb 2021 10:19
The New SE crater after the end of the lava fountains (image: thermal INGV webcam)
The New SE crater after the end of the lava fountains (image: thermal INGV webcam)
After little more than an hour with impressive fire fountains, the eruption quickly ceased and is now over. The lava flows to the south and east continue to descend, but may no longer be alimented.
The tremor signal started its rapid dive back to lower values as the supply of the just erupted batch of gas-rich fresh magma has been exhausted - until another one arrives from deeper reservoirs, maybe very soon...
Impressive eruption column with circular umbrella cloud towering above Sicily
Update Fri 19 Feb 2021 09:41
The eruption plume from this morning's paroxysm of Etna (image: Sara Raciti)
The eruption plume from this morning's paroxysm of Etna (image: Sara Raciti)
Lava fountains of 5-700 m from the New SE crater (image: INGV thermal webcam)
Lava fountains of 5-700 m from the New SE crater (image: INGV thermal webcam)
The eruption seen on the INGV thermal webcam in Linguaglosse (NE side)
The eruption seen on the INGV thermal webcam in Linguaglosse (NE side)
About 45 minutes after the onset, the eruption is now at its peak, probably going to start to decrease soon.
An impressive eruption column is rising near vertically from the New SE crater, to heights of estimated 20,000 ft (6.3 km) according to the latest bulletin of the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) of Toulouse.
Lava fountains still increase
Update Fri 19 Feb 2021 09:25
Lava fountains 500-700 m tall from the New SE crater (image: INGV webcam)
Lava fountains 500-700 m tall from the New SE crater (image: INGV webcam)
View from NE showing the mountain for scale (visual height approx. 2500 m) (image: INGV thermal webcam)
View from NE showing the mountain for scale (visual height approx. 2500 m) (image: INGV thermal webcam)
The still ongoing paroxysm appears to be even more intense than its two predecessors and still not The height of the lava fountains is likely more in the range of 700 m, something which will be determined later by the volcano observatory.
Eruption nears its peak, tall lava fountains reaching 500 m
Update Fri 19 Feb 2021 09:12
Lava fountains at the New SE crater during the peak of the ongoing paroxysm (INGV thermal webcam)
Lava fountains at the New SE crater during the peak of the ongoing paroxysm (INGV thermal webcam)
The eruption plume seen from the SW (RadioTouring webcam)
The eruption plume seen from the SW (RadioTouring webcam)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
The paroxysm should be at its peak now. Tremor is extremely high, similar to yesterday's event, and tall lava fountains up to 500 m are rising from multiple vents of the New SE crater.
In fact, it seems that the vents are along a west-east fissure dissects the whole summit of the large cone.
A tall ash and steam plume is rising into the Sicilian sky and drifting to the south-southeast. Significant lapilli and ash fall can be expected on the southern flanks of Etna.
Lava fountains quickly increase to approx. 300 m height
Update Fri 19 Feb 2021 08:57
300 m lava fountain from Etna's New SE crater (image: INGV thermal webcam)
300 m lava fountain from Etna's New SE crater (image: INGV thermal webcam)
Corresponding visual view
Corresponding visual view
The rate with which intensity increases is impressive. Within a few minutes since the onset, the lava fountains have already reached heights of approx. 300 m and still grow...
A tall ash and steam plume now rises several km above the crater.
Lava fountaining phase starting
Update Fri 19 Feb 2021 08:46
Beginning lava fountains at the New SE crater (image: INGV thermal webcam)
Beginning lava fountains at the New SE crater (image: INGV thermal webcam)
The new paroxysm is starting now, as lava fountains are beginning to rise from the summit and eastern vents of the New SE crater. Watch it live on the webcams at http://webcams.volcanodiscovery.com/Etna!
Lava flow and strombolian activity increase, beginning of paroxysm seems immediate
Update Fri 19 Feb 2021 08:33
Thermal view from the south towards the New SE crater showing explosions at the summit vent and the lava flow (image: INGV thermal webcam)
Thermal view from the south towards the New SE crater showing explosions at the summit vent and the lava flow (image: INGV thermal webcam)
View fro the SE towards the New SE crater with the lava flow (LAVE webcam)
View fro the SE towards the New SE crater with the lava flow (LAVE webcam)
Accompanied by steeply rising tremor, activity increases now by the minute.
The lava flow that had begun half an hour ago or so now increases and starts covering yesterday's flow. At the summit vent, explosions or small fountains are now visible as well.
Tremor continues to rise, paroxysm very likely to occur in the next hour
Update Fri 19 Feb 2021 08:24
Rising tremor signal
Rising tremor signal
As suspected, we probably see the beginning of another paroxysm. Tremor has started the typical steep rise. If true, lava fountains should be appearing very soon...
Lava low has started
Update Fri 19 Feb 2021 08:21
Thermal view of the New SE crater showing the lava flows starting to descend from the cone (image: INGV Catania thermal webcam)
Thermal view of the New SE crater showing the lava flows starting to descend from the cone (image: INGV Catania thermal webcam)
Blurry image of the LAVE webcam showing the lava flow as well
Blurry image of the LAVE webcam showing the lava flow as well
Indications of a possible new paroxysm become stronger with the minute: lava flows have started to emerge from the summit vent of the New SE crater.
This is often a typical precursor to a lava fountaining episode and can be explained with new, gas-rich magma rising inside the conduits first pushing out the older degassed magma in the upper part of the conduits left from the previous episodes.
The situation is exciting!
Rising tremor - maybe new paroxysm underway?
Update Fri 19 Feb 2021 08:08
Diffuse ash is rising from Etna's SE crater (image: INGV webcam)
Diffuse ash is rising from Etna's SE crater (image: INGV webcam)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
Current tremor signal (image: INGV Catania)
SO2 plume from yesterday's eruption (image: Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronom)
SO2 plume from yesterday's eruption (image: Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronom)
Approx. 30 hours have passed since the last lava fountain episode or paroxysm at Etna, which followed after 30 hours after the preceding one.
In the past, Etna has been known for producing series of paroxysms at similar, surprising regular intervals. Obviously, the question now is whether the next one will follow this pattern or not. At the time of writing this post, tremor seems to be rising indeed, first sign that activity increases.
At the surface, the New SE crater seems to have sporadic mild explosions, with a light ash plume rising.
Follow Etna live at: webcams.volcanodiscovery.com/Etna
As to yesterday's paroxysm, the sudden large release of SO2 can still be traced on satellite data, the plume now having reached the northern coast of Africa.

Second spectacular eruption within 48 hours lights the night sky

Do, 18. Feb 2021, 08:49
08:49 AM | VON: T
Lava fountains from Etna last night (image: Massimo Lo Giudice / facebook)
Lava fountains from Etna last night (image: Massimo Lo Giudice / facebook)
Tremor signal showing the two peaks of the recent paroxysms (image: INGV Catania)
Tremor signal showing the two peaks of the recent paroxysms (image: INGV Catania)
Less than 30 hours after Tuesday's spectacular paroxysm (lava-fountaining episode), the volcano gave again an impressive display of fire, producing another similar and very powerful eruption last night.
After the end of the previous paroxysm on 16 Feb, the volcano's activity had actually dropped to the lowest levels in recent weeks, but that was about to change very quickly last evening.
Around 11 pm local time, the sop-far intermittent and mild strombolian explosions from the New SE crater began to increase significantly, both in size and frequency. At the same time, the monitoring network of INGV Catania detected a rapid rise of volcanic tremor signal, indication of magma moving underground towards the surface.
Less than two hours later, around 1 am this morning local time, the eruption reached its peak phase: for almost an hour, tall lava fountains shot into the night sky, reaching considerable heights of probably around 500 m or even more. Multiple large lava flows descended on several sides of the cone as well.
This time, lava flows not only descended eastwards into Valle del Bove, but also to the south covering similar areas as many lava flows that had inundated the the area previously known as Torre del Filosofo in the past few years.
The Volcanic Ash Advisory Center of Toulouse detected volcanic ash reaching an altitude of 10,000 m (30,000 ft).
This latest paroxysm is likely only one of others to follow, and indicates that Etna is once again in a phase of alternating between intermittent and rather mild summit activity and violent, but short-lived lava fountains. When the next one will occur is impossible to predict, - it could be tonight or tomorrow or in 4 or more weeks. Only Etna knows for sure.
In the meanwhile, you can check its activity on various live webcams.
Massimo Lo Giudice (facebook)
Violent paroxysm with large lava fountain and lava flows
Update Tue 16 Feb 2021 21:15
Lava fountain during Etna's paroxysm this afternoon (image: Massimo Lo Giudice / facebook)
Lava fountain during Etna's paroxysm this afternoon (image: Massimo Lo Giudice / facebook)
The lava fountain and ash plume in the beginning of the eruption (image: Sara Raciti)
The lava fountain and ash plume in the beginning of the eruption (image: Sara Raciti)
The lava flow into Valle del Bove (image: Sara Raciti)
The lava flow into Valle del Bove (image: Sara Raciti)
This afternoon, Etna produced a very spectacular lava-fountaining eruptive episode, known as paroxysm.
Starting from around 5 p.m. local time in the afternoon, the strombolian activity, which had been going on for the past weeks from the New SE crater intensified significantly. Shortly after, a lava overflow was observed from the eastern side of the South East crater. At 16:05 UTC (5:05 p.m. local time), a part of the eastern flank of the cone collapsed into a pyroclastic flow that traveled down the western wall of the Valle del Bove depression.
The flow, as hot material was sliding over snow, produced an ash and steam cloud that quickly dispersed from high altitude winds to the south.
5 minutes later, the explosive activity at the SE crater increased further into lava fountains several hundred meters high, which produced a tall ash plume that rose to up to approx. 10 km elevation (30,000 ft) above sea level, i.e. 7 km above the craters.
The eruption was accompanied, as usual, by a sharp increase in tremor reflecting the sudden high discharge rate of magma being pushed to the surface by expanding gasses in a jet similar to opening a pressurized champagne bottle.
A significant lava flow with two main branches to the east and northeast was quickly flowing from the crater. The larger one to the east quickly reached the bottom of the Valle del Bove approx. 1000 m below.
After about one hour, from 6 p.m., the activity quickly decreased and almost ceased.
By now, it has returned to similar style as it had been during the past days and weeks: there is mild to moderate, but intermittent strombolian activity from at least 3 summit vents, Voragine, Bocca Nuova and the New South-East crater.
Sources:
- INGVulcani (facebook)
- Massimo Lo Giudice (facebook)

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