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Mount Etna eruption of December 24, 2018

Mt Etna greets Christmas with a new and spectacular eruption. On the morning of the 24 of December new vents opened at the base of the south-east crater and into the Valle del Bove, the wide Caldera covering the eastern flank of the volcano. Following the explosive activity a large plume of volcanic ash rose high in the sky from Etna, causing the temporary closure of the Catania airport. Later on the afternoon a few sectors has been reopened but with many restrictions.



The phenomenon has been characterized by the intrusion of a magmatic dike in the high eastern flank of the volcano, which has generated an intense earthquake swarm and showy ground deformation. An activity, says the Institute of geophysics and volcanology of Catania, followed by a gradual increase in degassing from the summit crater area that has in fact affected three of the five active craters of the Volcano.

Initially, there were sporadic ash emissions from both the Bocca Nuova and the Northeast Crater, culminating at around 12 am in a thick and incessant high plume of ash. Five minutes later, an intense Strombolian activity began and the lava start flowing down into the Valle del Bove depression.



Mount Etna strong seismic alarm

Since December 24, and from the time the eruption began, 73 earthquakes has been registered by the Ingv. Fear and people on the street, especially families with young children, in the towns hit by the 4.8 magnitude earthquake recorded at 3:19 am with its epicenter between Viagrande and Trecastagni in the province of Catania. This is the most violent quake since the eruption of Etna began on December 24th.

Six are the municipalities were major damage occurred, at Santa Venerina rubble fell from the facade of the main church Santa Maria del Carmelo in Bongiardo. In Pennisi, the bell tower and the statue of Sant'Emidio collapsed, considered the patron saint of earthquakes. Many people, frightened, went down the street during the night when earth shaked stronger. Ten people went mild injured due to the damage caused by the magnitude 4.8, and transferred to Catania hospitals. An elderly woman suffered more serious injuries for fractures, but not life threatening.


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The best time to visit Sicily is from May to June or September to October. Summer high temperatures will make hiking Mount Etna much harder than usual. Whatever season and excursion in Sicily you choose, Etna is an amazing natural wonder offering a great variety of emotions.

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