Mt Etna Volcano Eruptions - John Seach

1999 Eruptions
Eruptions began at Mt Etna on 4th September 1999. Eruption column from Voragine reached several km high. Lapilli and ash fell on the east flank to the coast (Giarre). A 0.5 km-long debris flow directed southward formed from the upper slope of the summit cone. In November 1999 there was Strombolian eruption and mild vulcanian activity in Bocca Nuova crater.

1998 Eruption
Eruptions from Voragine at the summit of Mt Etna volcano began on 22nd July 1998 and produced an eruption column 9 km high. Lapilli and ash fell south-southeast at Catania and Siracusa. The deposit was 4 cm thick at 4 km away. Ash fell in Zafferana and Catania.

1995 Eruption
An eruption from northeast crater at Etna on 23rd December 1995 produced lapilli and ashfall on the east flank to the coast (Giarre). The eruption disrupted flights to Catania, affected road traffic, and damaged vegetation.

1991-93 Eruptions
On 14th December 1991 an eruption began at Mount Etna from a fissure on the east flank of SE Crater. Lava fountaining and flows lasted a few hours before a fissure opened downslope in a SSE direction, between 2400 and 2200 altitude. The main lava flow erupted from this vent from 15th December 1991 until 31st March 1993. The 473-day eruption was the most voluminous flank eruption at Etna in the past three centuries. It was smaller in volume than the eruption in 1669. The long duration and low effusion rate of the eruption made it less dangerous than other recent eruptions such as 1981, and 1989.

1992 Lava Flow diversion
During the 1992 eruption of Etna earthworks are used to save the town of Zafferana Etnea from lava flows. In January 1992 an earth barrier 234 m long and 21 m high was constructed. The embankment contained lava for about a month and was overflowed on 9th April 1992. Three additional smaller earthen barriers (length: 90-160 m; height: 6-12 m ) were built in April to gain time while the lava front was descending towards Zafferana from the overflowed first embankment. The main intervention point was located in Valle del Bove at an elevation of 2000 m, at 8 km from Zafferana. Initial interventions called for attempts at plugging a
tunnel by dumping into it linked concrete blocks, hedgehogs and blasted portions of the solid levee. Each intervention caused the partial obstruction of the tunneled channel, which determined major increases of lava overflow in Valle del Bove and the consequent halt of the most advanced fronts. The intervention gave at the most two weeks of respite, before new lava fronts approached the outskirts of Zafferana. The final successful intervention was carried out on May 27-29, 1992. An artificial channel was dug departing from the natural one. The solid separation levee was thinned to 3 m and blasted by 7000 kg of explosives. After the explosion, 2/3 of the lava flowed spontaneously in the artificial channel. As a consequence of the intervention the active natural lava front, that on May 27 was only 850 m
from Zafferana stopped.

1990 Eruption
On 4-5 January 1990 an eruption from SE crater at Mt Etna produced lapilli and ashfall on the NW flank reaching the Tyrrhenian coast from S. Stefano di Camastra to Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto.

1986 Eruption
An eruption of NE crater at Mt Etna volcano on 24th September 1986 produced a column 10 –13 km-high and ash fallout on the SE flank as far as 80 km away. Ash reached Siracusa and caused the closure of the Catania airport. Lava ejecta reached 1,000–1,500 m above the vent, and the summit area was covered with bombs up to 2 m in diameter.

1983 Eruption
On 28 March 1983, lava was erupted from a fissure 750 m in length extending from about 3000 m down to 2250 m asl. The main effusion occurred from boccas (vent) between 2320 m and 2265 m asl. The 131 day eruption was characterised by a succession of advancing, partly overlapping flows for the first 60 days. This was followed from about the 60th day, by lava emplacement within an area within 3 km of the effusive boccas. Much of the activity consisted of effusion from ephemeral boccas fed by the main lava tube in the region between 1900 m and 1600 m altitude.

Human-made diversion of lava flows at Mt Etna in 1983.
During the 1983 eruption at My Etna, earthworks were used effectively to divert lava flows away from inhabited areas. During 50 days of 13 working hours per day a total volume of 750,000 cubic m of material was moved and about 10 km of service roads were built. The construction of the two barriers in the Piano Vetore area meant that the Serra la Nava pinewood zone was saved from lava flows. The saved zone included the Grand Hotel of Etna, the Astrophysics Observatory as well as numerous housing estates.

1981 Eruption
The beginning of the 1981 eruption was observed during a helicopter overflight of the volcano. The first fissure opened at 13.37 h local time on 17 March 1983, on the northeast rift at about 2550 m altitude. Fissures opened up progressively down the northern flank of the volcano and by 19.30 h they had reached an altitude of about 1400 m altitude. By the morning of 18 March lava had flowed 6 km. Mild strombolian activity continued from the lowermost vent above Randazzo until the evening of 23
March.

1979 Eruption
On 3rd August 1979 an eruption from SE crater at Mt Etna ejected metre-sized bombs up to 300 m from the vent and bombs with a maximum diameter of 0.5 m reached a distance of 500 m. This eruption produced ashfall in Catania and Siracusa causing the closure of the Catania airport.

1960 Eruption
On 7th July 1960 an eruption from the central crater at Mt Etna volcano produced a column several km high. Lapilli and ash fell northeast reaching Taormina and Messina and causing
damage to agricultural land. Forest fires were ignited by incandescent pyroclastics up to 7 km from the summit, at 1,700– 1,800 m of elevation. The most affected sector was in the Linguaglossa-Fiumefreddo area, where lapilli up to 5 cm fell.

1947 Eruption
On 5-6 February 1947 an eruption from North East Crater at Mt Etna produced lapilli and ashfall on the eastern flank to the coast. A continuous lapilli deposit with bombs up to 8 cm covered the Giarre area.

1940 Eruption
An eruption began at Mt Etna on 16th March 1940. Ash fell on the eastern flank between Taormina and Catania. Coarse ash fell in Messina and Reggio Calabria.

1928 Eruption
An eruption began at Mt Etna on 2nd November 1928 with a vent opening at 2900 m elevation on NE flank of the volcano. On 3rd November a vent opened between about 2,200 and 1,550 m on the Serra delle Concazze, and more vents opened on 4th November along the Ripa della Naca fault at 1,200 m. On the 6th November lava entered the town of Mascali, situated at the foot of the volcano, at only 100 m, and by 7th November the town was mostly destroyed. This was the most damaging eruption of Etna since the devastation of Catania in 1669.

1910 Eruption
On 23rd March 1910 a large fissure formed, which extended from Monte Castello for two kilometers to the western base of the Montagnuola. Over 20 craters formed over the next few days, which ejected lava, incandescent lapilli, and bombs, together with clouds of steam and ash. On 24th March, lava from the highest point of the fissure, near the Observatory, erupted forming a river 1,500 feet wide, which flowed at the rate of sixty or more feet per hour for a distance of two kilometers. Later lava flowed mostly from the lower craters (from Volta di Girolamo, about 7,000 feet altitude) and formed a river of molten rock one hundred and fifty feet wide. The lava flowed southward until it reached the eastern side of Monte Faggi, two kilometers below, and formed a magnificent cascade thirty-five feet wide and seventy high. By the 31st March lava flows had reached Borello and Belpasso and close to Nicolosi. The flows destroyed many gardens, vineyards, and woodlands near the villages. The town of Cavaliere was covered with ash and the fertile region of Cisterna Regina was destroyed. The eruption of 1910 lasted twenty-nine days.

1908 Eruption and Earthquake
An eruption occurred on the southern slope of the Valle del Bove on Etna
lasting under twenty-four hours; earthquakes occurred, but no new craters
were formed and but little lava was produced. On 21st December 1908 a large earthquake destroyed the two cities of Messina and Reggio on opposite sides of the strait which separates Sicily from Italy. According to the official record of the Italian government there were 96,871 deaths. At the same time both Stromboli and Etna showed signs of restlessness.

In the nineteenth century nineteen eruptions were recorded at Mt Etna, an average
of one for nearly every five years.

1892 Eruption
A crater formed near Monte Gemellaro, and lava flowed southward with an initial velocity of 380-540 feet per hour, which reached within one and a quarter miles from Borelli and two and one-half miles from of Nicolosi.

1886 Eruption
A three week long eruption occurred in 1886at Mt Etna. On May 18 dense clouds of steam and ash rose from the central crater. The next morning an earthquake occurred on the
southern slope and a new crater, (Monte Gemellaro 4,650 feet above the sea), was formed northeast of Monte Concilio, four and a half miles above Nicolosi. The crater produced steam, ashes, and molten lava, accompanied by loud detonations. From the southern base of this crater lava flowed for seventeen days in the direction of Nicolosi at the rate of 160 to 190 feet per hour.

1883 Eruption
Eruption at Mt Etna was preceded and accompanied by earthquakes, a radical fissure running
north and south opened from the central crater.

1879 Eruption
Lasting from May 26 to June 6, forming Monte Umberta Margherita crater, 4,705 feet above sea level, on the northern slope. A lava flow almost reached Alcantara.

1865 Eruption
The town of La Macchia above Giarre on the northeastern base was destroyed by earthquake.

1863 Eruption
On 7th July 1863 a central crater eruption at Mt Etna produced lapilli and ashfall on the southeastern flank and over southeastern Sicily. A few centimetre ash layer covered the beach of Catania (Playa beach). Ash fall is reported on Malta Island and on the Calabrian coast. The “Casa Inglese” shelter at 2,957 m was destroyed
by metre-sized bombs. Bombs up to 13 cm in size fell about 2.5 km away from the vent. Damage to the cultivated areas of the SE flank.

1852- 53 Eruptions
Eruptions lasted ten months and ejected 420 million cubic meters of lava.

1832 Eruption
Village of Bronte on the northeastern side of the mountain narrowly escaped destruction.

1819 Eruption
Eruption lasted two months.

1812 Eruption
Eruption lasted six months.

1800 Eruption
An eruption on 4th March 1800 from the central crater at Etna produced lapilli and ashfall on the northern flank to the Tyrrhenian coast (Milazzo area). Scoria up to 344 g injured people in the area of Roccella Val Demone (20 km from the vent) and Moio Alcantara.

1787 Eruption
An eruption on 18th July 1787 from the central crater produced lapilli and ashfall on the south-eastern flank. Ash fell on Malta Island. Damage to the forests down to 1,000 m elevation.

1224 Eruption
An eruption began in August 1224 at Mt Etna with flank lava flows originating from vents between 600-800 m elevation. Three lava flows burned the forest for a length of 4.5- 7.5 km. Lava reached the sea and set fire to boats.

1693 Eruption
Eruption was accompanied by an earthquake which nearly destroyed Catania.

1669 Eruption
This was the largest and most destructive eruption at Mt Etna. The eruption began in April 1669. Every house in Nicolosi was destroyed by an earthquake. The fields above the town were converted into a fiery lake of lava which enveloped a part of the hill of "Monpilieri," which stopped the stream for a time. The lava divided into three branches, the main one which reached Catania. Lava flowed the first thirteen miles in twenty days, or an average of about 162 feet per hour, while it took twenty-three days for the last two miles, or twenty-two feet per hour. The lava took eight years to cool. Lava flowed to the sea in a 600 m wide front. When lava flows reached Catania, it flowed over the sixty-foot city wall in a fiery cascade and destroyed a large section of the town.

1185 Eruption
15,000 people killed.

1169 Eruption
A a large part of Catania was destroyed, including the cathedral with its bishop and congregation.

40 AD Eruption
Catania destroyed by an eruption.

122 BC Eruption
A basaltic Plinian eruption occurred at Etna in 122 BC. Roman chronicles describing a
large eruption which caused heavy lapilli fall in Catania, and the sun was blocked for days.

396 BC Eruption
A great lava stream reached the sea on the northeastern base of the volcano.

425 BC Eruption
In the spring of 425 BC a "fire-flood issued from Aetna (Etna) as on former occasions and destroyed the territory of Catania".

Mt Etna Volcano Eruptions

2013, 2011, 2010, 2006-09, 2004-05, 2002-03, 1994-2001, 1993, 1993, 1991-93, 1990-92, 1989-90, 1989, 1988-89, 1987, 1986-87, 1984-86, 1984, 1983, 1981, 1981, 1981, 1980, 1980, 1979-92, 1971-79, 1966-71, 1959-64, 1959, 1958, 1957-58, 1957, 1955-56, 1953?, 1951-52, 1950-51, 1949-50, 1947, 1947, 1946, 1945, 1942-44, 1942, 1940-42, 1935-39, 1934, 1931-33, 1930, 1929, 1928, 1928, 1926, 1924-25, 1923-24, 1923, 1919-23, 1918, 1918, 1917, 1913-17, 1912, 1911, 1911, 1910-11, 1910, 1908-09, 1908, 1899-1907, 1899, 1893-98, 1892, 1892, 1891, 1886, 1884-85, 1883, 1879, 1878-83, 1874, 1874, 1869, 1868, 1865, 1864, 1863, 1857, 1852-53, 1843, 1842, 1838-39, 1833, 1832, 1828-32, 1827, 1822, 1819, 1816?, 1811-12, 1810, 1809, 1803-09, 1802, 1797-1801, 1792-93, 1792, 1791, 1787, 1781, 1780, 1776, 1770?, 1767, 1766, 1764-65, 1763, 1763, 1758-59, 1755, 1752-58, 1747-49, 1744-45, 1735-36, 1732-33, 1723-24, 1702, 1693-94, 1693?, 1689, 1688, 1682, 1669, 1654-56?, 1651-53, 1646-47, 1643, 1634-38, 1633?, 1614-24, 1610, 1603-10, 1595?, 1579-80?, 1566, 1554?, 1541, 1540, 1537, 1536, 1494?, 1447, 1446, 1444, 1408, 1381?, 1350, 1333, 1329, 1329, 1284-85, 1250, 1222, 1194, 1169?, 1164, 1160, 1157, 1063, 1044?, 1004?, 911?, 859?, 814?, 812?, 644?, 417?, 252?, 80?, 39, 10, 10 BC, 32 BC, 36 BC, 44 BC, 49 BC, 56 BC, 61 BC, 122 BC, 126 BC, 135 BC, 141 BC, 350 BC, 396 BC?, 425-24 BC? 479-76 BC?, 565 BC?, 695, 735 BC?, 1500 BC.