Mount Etna erupted several times in December 2020 and January 2021. The strongest in 2020 was captured in Meteosat imagery.
17 February 2021
25 January 2021
By Jochen Kerkmann (EUMETSAT)
Mount Etna, or Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily. It is one of the world's most active volcanoes and is in an almost constant state of activity.
In December 2020 there were several paroxysms from the volcano from 12 December onwards. The strongest paroxysm seen on satellite imagery was on 21 December, which started around 09:00 UTC. As is typical for a short Etna paroxysm, the event lasted less than two hours. The 15-minute Meteosat-11 24-hour Microphysics RGB animation, from 09:00-16:00 UTC (Figure 1), shows the initial movement of the volcanic (SO2) cloud.
The longer animation in Figure 2 shows the extended movement of the SO2 cloud, from initial paroxym to travelling from Greece towards Turkey in the early hours of 22 December.
Sporadic eruptions continued into January 2021, although with smaller paroxyms, so much weaker signals made it difficult for satellite products to pick up. On 18 January 2021, the weak volcanic plume was only faintly visible in Meteosat-11 Ash RGB imagery (Figure 3, top left) and not detected at all in CIMSS-derived products as signal was to weak for the algorithm (Figure 3).
A series of earthquakes, occurred from the afternoon of 31 December 2020 until the morning of 2 January, mainly under the southern flank of the volcano. Forty quakes of magnitudes of up to 3.8 were recorded. Later in the month, on 24 January, following more sporadic eruptions, at least 50 small quakes were recorded.
Volcanoes of the world database (Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program)
Etna's current activity (Volcano Discovery)
Etna eruption on 16 Feb 2021, seen in Meteosat-11 24h Microphysics RGB
Other Etna cases
Mount Etna erupts on Christmas Eve
On Christmas Eve 2018 Mount Etna, Europe's highest and most active volcano, started erupting.
Etna's brief eruption on 13 January 2011, beginning at around 21:30 UTC was observed by Meteosat-9.
Etna volcanic eruption
Etna woke up again in the evening of 15 March 2017, spewing ash and SO2, and forming a nice looking plume.
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