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Satellites monitor Mount Etna’s unpredictable behaviour

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Italy’s Mount Etna, Europe’s most lively volcano, has just lately been on explosive type, with 17 eruptions in lower than three months. Devices onboard three completely different satellites orbiting Earth have acquired imagery of the eruptions – revealing the depth of the lava-fountaining eruptive episodes, generally known as paroxysms.

Situated on the east coast of Sicily, Mount Etna is among the world’s most lively volcanoes. Its eruptions happen on the summit, the place there are 4 craters: the Voragine and the Bocca Nuova, fashioned in 1945 and 1928 respectively, the Northeast Crater, the best level on Etna (3330 m) and the Southeast Crater, which has just lately been probably the most lively of the 4.

Mount Etna eruptions

Beginning in February 2021, the Southeast Crater produced a collection of intense lava fountains colouring the evening sky in hues of orange and crimson. Over the course of the next weeks, the volcano produced lava fountains reaching as excessive as 1.5 km. 

These spectacular explosions are amongst the best noticed on the Southeast Crater in latest a long time. Up to now, lava fountains reaching the identical top had been solely noticed on the Voragine crater in December 2015 – with lava fountains of over 2000 m.

Completely different satellites carry completely different devices that may present a wealth of complementary info to know volcanic eruptions. As soon as an eruption begins, optical devices can seize the assorted phenomena related to it, together with lava flows, mudslides, floor fissures and earthquakes.

The photographs under present the most recent exercise happening within the volcano. The photographs, captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 missions, have been processed utilizing the shortwave-infrared band to indicate the continued exercise within the crater. Smoke plumes might be seen blowing eastwards in direction of the city of Giarre.

Atmospheric sensors on satellites may determine the gases and aerosols launched by the eruption, in addition to quantify their wider environmental impression. The picture under, captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, exhibits the sulphur dioxide concentrations seen travelling southwards in direction of Libya. Sulphur dioxide is launched from a volcano when magma is comparatively near the floor.

After every week or so of remaining calm, Etna’s Southeast Crater re-awoke on the morning of 31 March with a loud explosion at round 07:00 CEST, adopted by a number of puffs of ash and lava.

In accordance with the Nationwide Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy (INGV), the explosive exercise elevated within the late afternoon and throughout the evening with lava flowing in direction of the Valle del Bove, with smaller flows advancing southwards. As of at the moment, exercise within the Southeast Crater stays calm.

Sulphur dioxide concentrations on 24 March 2021

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