This report covers observations of eruptive
activity at Etna on 24-26 Nov. 2006. The period was selected
according to the weather forecast, which proved accurate. As
a result visibility was generally good, although dense fog
made the descent on the 26th rather difficult.
activity from the SE crater commenced in the early morning of the 24th
with consistent eruption of dark ash clouds. As we approached the
cable-car, we watched the thick ash clouds and
were looking forward to approaching the crater, however on arrival at the
top, we were told to immediately descend again due to the high level of
activity. After some discussion it was possible to observe the activity
for an hour from the station.
afternoon, ash emission stopped and it was possible to observe extensive
lava flow activity from 1120m on the Zafferana-Etna road and later from
Monte Zoccolaro. Emission of lava from the large fissure in the SE crater
could be seen.
25th, access to the top of the flow field descending into the Valle del
Bove was possible and constant lava emission from the base of a large
hornito could be observed. No other flows were visible. The flow was
embedded in recently erupted lava deposits. Hence in the areas with a
good view of the lava flow, ground temperature was high. This caused
problems with several peoples shoe-soles and melted the feet off my
tripod. In the early evening, I crossed the lava tunnel feeding the
hornito and proceeded to the NW side thereof where the lava flow could be
accessed better due to the wind conditions.
of some spatter could be observed. However, summit activity of the SE
crater commenced again, starting with dark ash clouds and increasing to
the level witnessed on the previous day. Consequently, I considered it
prudent to return to the SE side of the flow to avoid getting cut off if
flow activity increased to levels witnessed the previous day.
Unfortunately, the police were rounding up everyone at this time and I had
to descend shortly afterwards. The SE crater Paroxism was not
photographed as most of the glow was obscured by the thick ash and it was
26th, we arrived at the top of the cable car at about 10.30 and could
observe intense ash emission from a crater on the E flank slightly below
the summit of SE crater. Fortunately, access was still possible to the
flow field and the hornito, which both showed no significant changes
compared to the previous day. The E flank crater was active for most of
the day. The hornito violently ejected incandescent material to a height
of maybe 80m during the late afternoon but unfortunately stopped shortly
before dark. The E flank crater was still active when we left after onset
of darkness. Although some incandescent material could be seen, it was
largely obscured by the ash emitted.
morning of the 27th loud explosions could be heard at the Rifugio Sapienza
area although cloud cover obscured visibility. Fortunately, due to a
change in the wind direction, the airport reopened (it had been shut from
24-26th) and it was possible to return home as planned.
1.-11. November 2006