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Mount Etna spews smoke and ash in spectacular new eruption


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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.





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