Etna’s paroxysm overview

Since the beginning of this year, Inge B. has kept track of all of Etna’s activity this year and has submitted a summary to keep track of all this for everyone. By now, we have seen a dozen of paroxysms and several other instances of activity at various craters, so it is easy to see people get lost there. For that reason, a table has been made by Inge B. (thanks for that!) which I have sort of converted to wordpress-language.

Etna summit craters map. Image by INGV

Bigger eruptions Date Summit craters involved Characteristics of activity
9-15 Jan 2013 Bocca Nuova (BN) Vigorous Strombolian eruption after 3 months quiescence at this crater which had had its first magmatic activity after 10 years again in 2011.
16 Jan 2013 BN Strombolian activity
18 Jan 2013 BN Strombolian Activity
20 Jan 2013 New SouthEast Crater (NSEC) Strombolian activity, first magmatic activity after 9 months quiescence at NSEC
22 Jan 2013 NSEC Strombolian activity, more intense than the last ones, bombes rose up to 100 m above crater rim
28-29 Jan 2013 BNNSEC Vigorous Strombolian activity, rumbling noises, to be heard in vicinity of cratersWeak Strombolian activity; rhythmic degassing with slight ash content. First time since 12 years, simultaneous activity from 2 summit craters
30 Jan 2013 BN Intensive Strombolian activity, launching bombs to about 120 m above crater rim
Paroxysm 1 19 Feb 2013 NSEC Lava fountaining with production of lava flows, pyroclastic flows, lahars and ash cloud
Paroxysm 2 20 Feb 2013 NSEC Lava fountaining, lava flows, ash
Paroxysm 3 20 Feb 2013 NSEC Lava fountaining, lava flows, ash. Second paroxysm that day
Paroxysm 4 21 Feb 2013 NSEC Lava fountaining, lava flows, ash; 4 paroxysms in 48 hours is very rare
Paroxysm 5 23 Feb 2013 NSEC Lava fountaining, more intense than before, fountains up to 800 m high, lava flows, ash cloud containing scoriae
27 Feb – 4 Apr 2013 BNVoragine (VOR) Strombolian activity, weak lava fountains continuing through 28 Feb 2013Explosive activity, first activity of VOR since 1999. Strombolian activity in the night before Paroxysm 6. Still ongoing Strombolian activity with stronger explosions in between, small ash emission, volcanic bombs during Paroxysm 7. Weak Strombolian activity still ongoing; after activity ceased at NSEC at Paroxysm 8, strong explosions at VOR. Weak Strombolian activity still ongoing at Paroxysm 9.
Paroxysm 6 28 Feb 2013 NSEC Lava fountaining; eruptive fissure opened in the saddle between the Southeast Crater and the New Southeast Crater, lava flows; ash plume, scoriae fallout
Paroxysm 7 5-6 Mar 2013 NSEC Spattering from new fissure in the saddle between the SEC and the NSEC; lava flows then lava fountains up to 800 m high; intense fallout of scoriae in adjacent towns and villages down to Taormina on the Ionian Coast
Paroxysm 8 16-17 Mar 2013 NSEC Slow increase of Strombolian activity; lava fountains, ash and scoriae fall, rather violent paroxysm with several loud bangs heard in population centers around the volcano, gas rings; lava overflow, up to 800 m high lava fountains, ash plume 2.000 m high, lightening within the plume; downpour of heavy material, volcanic bombs and big scoriae in the summit area; after explosive activity ceased: small collapses and slides of still hot material
Paroxysm 9 3-4 Apr 2013 NSEC violent paroxysm, only short time lava fountains, but very loud explosions, noise heard tens of kilometers from the craters, opening of new vents on the NSEC, production of small pyroclastic flows in the summit area (summit area declared “off limits” by the authorities after this episode); ash and scoriae fall in adjacent towns and villages
Paroxysm 10 8-14 Apr 2013 NSEC Long run-up phase beginning on 8. April with loud Vulkanian (?) explosions (heard tens of km away), some rather heavy explosions with ash emission, followed by a period of Strombolian activity of increasing intensity culminating in lava fountaining on April 12, emission of tephra, ash and lapilli as well as lava bombs, less ashfall though than during Paroxysm 9 and the ones in March 2013; lava flow into Valle del Bove; repeated collapse at NSEC, leading to formation of a depression in the cone lava flow from “saddle” between SEC and NSEC in direction of Belvedere activity also from 2 vents at the base of NSEC on the same day; landslide; small pyroclastic flow two days following of declining activity with some production of weak lava flows
Paroxysm 11 18 Apr 2013 NSEC From 16 April on some explosive activity at NSEC, ash emissions, small Strombolian eruptions, slowly increasing paroxysm with lava fountaining in the morning of 18. April; eruption cloud with ashfall and lapilli dispersion in direction S-SW; big lava flow into Valle del Bove, two smaller ones from the “saddle” between NSEC and SEC in directions N and S weaker Strombolian activity still ongoing since morning of 19 April
Paroxysm 12 20 Apr 2013 NSEC Violent activity, ramping up quickly. Fountaining up to 1000 m high with column of gas, ash and lapilli and heavy tephra fall on the east flank. Downpoor of lapilli on the highway Catania-Messina near Giarre. Intensity approximately 30% higher than previous paroxysms.

INGV Catania (also for the pictures), reports (English)
for the 9th paroxysm:
for the 10th paroxysm:
notizie/news/875 (English)
for the 11th paroxysm (as per April 20, 2013): (English) and (Italian)

Photo of Paroxysm 10 at the 12th of April 2013. Photo by

El Nathan

223 thoughts on “Etna’s paroxysm overview

      It appears strain is quickly building in South of Iceland areas last 48 hours, that along with “rapid inflation” (visiple at some GPS stations) and recent earthquakes that happened last night inside the Hekla Volcanic System. THAT should be the topic for today, besides Kuril Islands are going nowhere at the moment. SERIOUSLY.

      *Nothing personal against the writer/author, merely possible failure of blog editors realizing Hekla today might be heavily more important and in my “ice cold view” likely is highly significant, althou I am not predictiog any catastrope, for that I lack expertize.*
      *Furthermore some here are NOT part of facebook and likely never will. Them will then be in the dark forever, and this can result in changes of visitis to this blog.*
      *No one has contacted me, here or otherwise. My comments in responses to other comments this morning are not visible, but they are not gone*

      • If Hekla erupts she will be the headline straight away! She will have her own post at the first sign and will continue to do for a while if she erupts I think 😀

        p.s. I sent you a mail at the address I believe at 11:25 UTC

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