The count of Etna paroxysms in February 2013 now stands at 4 (and NTV Riddle)

This screenshot shows the first sight i got when i woke up this morning. Bruce Stout had been watching the event from the time it started and had left comments on VC which made me aware of what is going on. Etna changed its behavior the last days and displayed a 4th paroxysm today early in the morning after being active twice yesterday.

INGV analysed the paroxysms of the 20 in this articles in Italian and English. You can most likely expect a new report on todays events at a little later. Dr. Boris Behncke made some comments over at Eruptions where Erik had been writing a post on Etnas behavior too yesterday:

Yesterday someone zoomed in one Radiostudio7 cam and so i could take nice screenshots…

This picture was created out of the best screenshots i got of the Radiostudio7 cam yesterday.

Claude Grandpey reported live on his blog yesterday.

Check the lower right side of this image. I have not seen that spot before!

I´d like to paste some of the comments into this post to start a discussion:

Bruce noticed that same lava break-out feature has reappeared: but Newby could be assured that no people are in danger because the ava flows down into an uninhabitet valley called Valle del Bove.

Bruce Stout says: February 21, 2013: Good morning, everyone, (yawn), oh look, Etna is at it again (no. 4) instant wake-up call.

Initial thoughts on Etna. A while ago I postulated that the periodicity in Etna’s paroxysms was caused by a steady magma feed into a piston like chamber with a narrow opening to the surface (this piston might be nothing more than the conduit itself). In this case the mechanism would be that magma enters the piston, starts to degass due to drop in pressure and slowly fills the piston until the pressure and volume was high enough to clear out the flimsy plug left by the last event. The built-up pressure in the piston coupled with rising levels of exsolution of gases leads to the fountaining as the piston empties itself. Rinse and repeat.

Now, if this is correct, why the sudden increase in the frequency of these paroxysms? Two possibilities come to mind: Faster rate of magma feed from below or a smaller piston.
Working in favor of the latter, is that the volumes of these paroxysms seem to be smaller than the previous series (though I am flying on the seat of my pants on this one, just guessing from the videos/webcams). It is most likely a combination of both faster feed and a smaller piston volume in the upper conduit. If higher feed, we might see a flank eruption at some stage which Boris once said often follows such series of paroxysms.
Just some random thoughts put here for discussion…
February 21, 2013 at 05:04

Well, bang goes that theory… this paroxysm is back to the old levels:

Webcams are offering some very atmospheric shots as the wind is blowing the cloud towards the cam, obscuring the vent:

Spica: Ok the tremor is down again. The event seems to be over.
Bruce took a screenshot of the tremor being at 121 i saw it at 123 and when you check the graph now it shows that is was never as high as with the first paroxysm on the 19th. Can anyone explain this to me, this is not the first time i saw this behavior of the tremor graphs and i never understood it.

Boris mentioned on eruptions that it is not the first time Etna shows many paroxysm. In 2000 it started paroxysms in January and till late August the count ran up to 66 ! of those explosive events. I am bringing the webcam list over again so you have a chance to watch the show on your own.
Etna webcams:

One more screenshot for all who missed the show!

taken from the Lave cam:

Name those Volcanoes Riddle

4 volcanoes 4 points

No 1 – Does it serve as a warning beacon for ocean going ships? Its nickname includes the name of an ocean. SOLVED
No 2 –
This volcanic island’s artifacts/treasures, specifically A & A,  can be found in both the B M and the L. A & A are the names of ancient statues. SOLVED
No 3 –
Here the salty craters hold a current ‘known’ subaerial world record. SOLVED
No 4 –
During a warm, summer month in 2012 its summit displayed an historic ‘first’. Icelandic volcano. SOLVED


156 thoughts on “The count of Etna paroxysms in February 2013 now stands at 4 (and NTV Riddle)

  1. Good morning all. This post by me is for sure not the greatest work of journalism.
    My intention was to react fast.
    And provide information as soon as possible.
    Etna might act up again soon, maybe even today. I’ll be at work. So please people, leave comments on videos you find or which cam is the best or…

  2. Bruce asked Boris on Eruptions about the tremor for me. I still cannot comment there. Thanks Bruce!!!
    PS, Boris, I have another question, raised by Spica at volcanocafe… how come the tremor graph peaks (in this case at 123) but after the event is over, the peak has dropped to the mid-nineties? Is there some kind of averaging involved?

    Boris answered:
    Bruce, the graphic shows a sliding average of 5-minute-intervals. So if in the past 5 minutes, the tremor has stood at 123, and then it drops sharply to, say, 83 within the following 5 minutes, the updated graphic shows the mean of 123 and 83 (that would be 103). This is why one always has to take the latest value of the volcanic tremor amplitude with a grain of salt and reload the tremor page manually every now and then, to get it updated more frequently.

    Both comments were pasted over from Erik Klemettis blog Eruptions from

    I do not know if Boris read VC too, i guess not. But let me say it here THANK YOU Boris

    • gern geschehen! 😉 It took me a long time to succumb to disqus.. I resisted it for a long long time but finally I thought, damn, if it is the only way to ask Boris and Erik questions, then I’ll just have to accept it, with much gnashing of teeth…

  3. Ok, well i thought i had missed the boat yesterday, so i will point my webcam script thingy at it today and see if i can make a video…..that is bound to put a stop to the action

    • Hi Greg

      In order to use your nice script could you explain some thiungs to me please (I’m no expert in Perl).
      – Perl is installed on computer already – OK
      – I should copy you script in a txt file with a .pl extension ?
      – then launch the script using the command bar ?

      thanks in advance

      • Hi dfm

        yes you can save it as text in a .pl file for example

        then execute at the command prompt (I assume that is the same as command bar) as follows:


        is the name of a subfolder to store the jpegs
        is the time in seconds to grab the next jpeg

        BTW. I think there might have been an error in my original perl script: Here is what i am currently using for etna: this might not post to well due to added line feeds. In general for perl you can use ; or } to determine where the linefeed is


        edit El Nathan: wordpress did not like the whole script with the links, so I edited the post, making sure not to lose anything 🙂 I hope it’s all good now.

        • bah humbag some of the brackets got stripped

          The follow part of the post above should be:

          then execute at the command prompt (I assume that is the same as command bar) as follows:

          perl volcanoe refreshTime

          volcanoe is the name of a subfolder to store the jpegs
          refreshTime is the time in seconds to grab the next jpeg

  4. Great post about an ongoing event!
    I saw the tremor rising and couldn’t grab more than two shots, due to the weather. And I had to sleep! Mamma will kill me if she keeps at this pace! Great to see those events! (I didn’t miss one of the three!). 🙂

    • Oh Renato, I am jealous of you, I missed every single episode as I was sleeping. 😦 and tonight I have to be out so I expect she will dare to go again while my back is turned! 😀

    • It looks pretty normal to me – but is still rising even though HEL, STO and BUR are showing the usual rises and falls.

  5. The lava running down the flanks is visible on the Lave cam
    And it moved much farther down within the last 10 minutes!

  6. Off to bed now.

    Memo to Etna: If you are planning on a 5th paroxysm, please wait until tomorrow night as I have missed the first four 🙂

  7. Gute Nacht! (after all of two hours sleep I have got up to finish a job before the deadline tomorrow.. I’ll keep on eye on her. Boris said he expects a new one tonight again (lava is already streaming down the slopes in the webcam).

  8. While operating machinery, equipment, drive or fly… there are always some things you just don’t do. (specific to the equipment)

    This guy illustrates one of them in an aircraft.

  9. Etna was clear for a while this morning, I am not sure if i was seeing smoke on the Nicolosi visiable webcam or was it cloud forming. So i changed my script to get the Montagnola visible view, and would’nt you know the cloud came in immediately 😦 It looks like it might be snowing there now.

    • Thanks, Yes, both North and West just in last few days. One could expect rise also, but that is not visible. Sorce of inflation is then Sout and east of HEKR (Heklurótum). The detrended format can cancel out steady rize, and only pick up if there is sudden one. (If its been rising for many years, thats not a trend and cancelled out?)

    • Thanks Jamie! I’m away for the weekend so will miss any excitement that happens between tomorrow morning and Monday evening!

  10. OT.. Brian May just walked passed me at the Internation Airport in Iceland. My co-worker got a picture of them together. Damn my shyness!!

  11. Hi Nathan and Stephanie ….. I’ll ding as soon as I see a correct answer tonight as I wont be around for the weekend!

  12. I will go for Kilauea for number two, as I know Hawaiian artefacts are in the both British Museum and the Louvre so I guess Hawaii for the island and go for Kilauea as the most active volcano, or second guess Muana Loa.

  13. No 1 I will go for Mount Pico in the Azores. Two reasons, first it is an incredible volcanic peak that can be seen from far out in the Atlantic. Second there is a beacon named Pico Beacon. If nobody else is playing I may as well try for one more.

  14. No 4 – has me perplexed. Activity that I can find for summer months is:

    White Island – rising crater lake levels& ash emission
    Ioto – small emission of mud and steam, probable NE flank submarine eruption
    Tongariro – eruption
    Havre Seamount – pumice raft
    Tokachi – small event in the Taisho Crater
    San Cristobal – eruption.

  15. Hi Karen
    I’m not around this weekend so let’s get them solved! I’ll add a couple of hints to the clues above …..

    • Ah, now you made it so easy that it showed up first place when googling “august 2012 iceland summit” 🙂
      No 4: Stratovolcano Snæfell´s summit under Snæfellsjökull was ice free for the first time in recorded history.

  16. Snæfellsjökull (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈstn̥aiːfɛlsˌjœːkʏtl̥], snow-fell glacier) is a 700,000 year old stratovolcano with a glacier covering its summit in western Iceland.[2] The name of the mountain is actually Snæfell, but it is normally called “Snæfellsjökull” to distinguish it from two other mountains with this name. It is situated on the most western part of the Snæfellsnes peninsula in Iceland. Sometimes it may be seen from the city of Reykjavík over the bay of Faxaflói, at a distance of 120 km.

    The mountain is one of the most famous sites of Iceland, primarily due to the novel A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864) by Jules Verne, in which the protagonists find the entrance to a passage leading to the center of the earth on Snæfellsjökull.

    The mountain is included in the Snæfellsjökull National Park (Icelandic: Þjóðgarðurinn Snæfellsjökull).[3]

    In August 2012 the summit was ice free for the first time in recorded history.[4]

  17. No 1: Izalco Volcano – lighthouse of the pacific
    The Izalco volcano is the youngest volcano in El Salvador. Izalco was born from a sulfur vent arising from the ground in the year 1770 and kept constant activity until 1967 when it literally suddenly stopped erupting. Prior to this mysterious ending, the lava coming out of the volcano and the constant flares could be spotted from the Pacific Ocean.

  18. Girls thanks!!!
    1 point and a very loud DING for Chryphia and Milos ….. have a great week everyone I am off for a great time!! Tell you all about it when i get back xxxxx

  19. I am worried I am sure I posted a comment earlier……. about the answer to Volcano #1. But it’s not there! Either I am not hitting the post button or I am becoming invisible 😦

  20. Ruminations as I am buying seed potatoes and putting them to sprout (chit) ready for planting in 3-4 weeks time. What has this to do with Volcanoes?
    Well one of the places I could spend my potato growing retirement is the Volcanic Island of Tristan da Cunha. A remote island in the South Atlantic (Only accessible by a 7 day boat journey from Cape Town, South Africa). In 1961/1962 the volcano erupted and all the inhabitants were taken off and brought to Britain until they could return.
    They grow potatoes as a staple food. The potatoes do well with a liberal feeding of penguin Poop!
    My thanks to Jim Leff for a very interesting post about this.
    A nice recent documentary that may raise some eyebrows of Volcanoholics …..

  21. OT……… The wonderful thing about life is that you never know what may come to your front door!
    This morning I opened my door to find Five…..Yes 5 handsome , genuine, FIREMEN!
    They were on a scheme to offer free fitting of smoke alarms and to carry out a safety check on homes especially of the less able and elderly…….
    I explained I was a health and safety officer before I retired and my husband and I had everything under control. Working and tested alarms and all……
    I did say to them it was a pity my husband was off sick because otherwise I would have invited them all in for tea and cake! ( …and turned off the alarms so they could check them!) 😀
    It was rather like the handsome firemen that cut me out of my car back in 2001….I was in no fit state to make the most of this close encounter, but I did appreciate their gentleness and strength….SIGH! 😀 😀 😀
    Right… time to dodge the snow flurries and plant a very special variety of apple tree that I found on line… a Howgate Wonder….I remember in my childhood the enormous fruit . One apple would make a delicious pie. It also came to my front door this morning. I have the planting space prepared and Meg the Moulting Puppy will help me dig. :D.
    meg’s abundance of moulted hair has half filled a plastic shopping bag already. I save the hair and put it in those mesh bags you get oranges in. The small birds ca take it to line their nests in spring :D. Nothing wasted in this house! I even recycle the dog!

    • OH and just to add a warning note especially to other less abled and elderly folk…. ALWAYS check the credentials of anyone coming to your door unasked and making offers. Crooks pose as police, firemen and other occupations that may win you over to inviting them in I admit this morning I didn’t ask for their credentials. The very large shiny red fire engine parked in the road and their uniforms and ID tags were plain to see.

  22. Pingback: Etna paroxysm of 2013-02-23 | volcanocafe

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