Etna Ice- and Ringworld: Photos and Video Clips (23.-25.2.2000)
From 23.-25.2.2000 three SOL-team members were waiting in the bitter cold for another SEC paroxysm. Unfortunately they did not witness
one from close but, instead, were rewarded by other spectacular sights, and some incredible «steam rings» from Bocca Nuova. Normally,
this phenomen is referred to as «smoke ring». However, as there was hardly any ash, but a high steam content, we call it «steam ring».
Some lasted for up to 10mins (times documented by video recordings). To give a sense of the perspective, camera lens focal lengths are
given (i.e. f=28mm). Pictures link to larger photos (40 to 100 KB).
23.2.2000, 4:00, f=28 mm from Serra la Nave (MF). The steam from BN masks a paroxysm at SEC. The full moon illuminates Etna's winter wonderland. Constellation Draco top right.
23.2.2000, f=14mm from Torre del Filosofo (JA). Steam produced by BN is carried by a strong northwesterly wind over SEC. Although everything looked very dramatic, no significant eruptions occurred all day...
24.2.2000, 12:30, f=35mm from TDF (JA). Suddenly BN begins producing steam rings. This wonderful specimen gently drifts right over our heads and past the sun which is tinted orange by aerosols in the BN smoke.
24.2.2000, 13:00, fish-eye photo (diagonal=180°) from TDF (MF). Jürg is recording another wonderful steam ring from BN. Its shadow falls exactly on SEC's slope! We can deduce its diameter as 200 m, and its height 1 km above us. Below is a movie of this ring.
24.2.2000, 13:00, f=14mm from TDF (JA). Same steam ring as above, far right. As the ring climbs in the sky, its shadow travels towards the lower right on SEC's slope! Have you ever before seen the motion of a ring and its shadow recorded in the same photos?
24.2.2000, 13:00, f=14mm from TDF (JA). The three frames of this picture are enlargements of the lower right sections of the images on the left. The SEC cone appears somewhat distorted by the extreme wide angle lens.
24.2.2000, 13:00, f=35mm from TDF (JA). Now the ring is straight above us. Note the thin veil of steam which connects the ring with the larger clouds from BN and compare with the next photo!
24.2.2000, 13:00, fish-eye photo (MF). The steam ring now drifts south due to the north wind. SO2-rich BN steam filters sunlight and projects purple shadows on Piano del Lago. In the background from left to right: Ionian Sea, Montagnola, cablecar station and M. Frumento Supino.
25.2.2000, 16:00, f=28 mm from TDF (MF). Another steam ring from BN rises in the sky and seems to get a little help during its ascent from the sun.
25.2.2000, 16:00, f=28 mm from Torre del Filosofo hut (MF). The same smoke ring maybe a minute later. Its trail gets distorted by wind shear.
24.2.2000, 18:00, f=14mm from between TDF and Belvedere (JA). Irregular melt structures in the snow create the impression of «patterned ground».
24.2.2000, 18:00, f=14mm from between TDF and Belvedere (JA). The setting sun dramatically illuminates BNs steam trail. Marco and Roby descending towards Piano del Lago.
25.2.2000, f=14mm, near Belvedere (JA). Roby poses behind a remarkable snowdrift sculptured by Etna's incredibly powerful winter storms.
25.2.2000, f=14mm, near Belvedere (JA). Wind erosion has carved these elegant shapes out of thinly layered snow. Black scoria from recent SEC paroxysms on the right.
24.2.2000, f=14mm, Belvedere (JA). Black SEC towers above the edge of Valle del Bove. The dark lava flows on the right were emplaced during recent Etna paroxysms.
24.2.2000, f=14mm, Belvedere (JA). Are we in Antarctica, on the slopes of Mt. Erebus with the Ross Sea in the Background? (Looking down the vast depression of Valle del Bove).
25.2.2000, f=14mm, Rifugio Sapienza (JA). Is it possible that the jumble of souvenir shops, the cablecar station and other monstrosities needed by the tourist industry may actually look pretty in fresh winter snow? Note occupied (!) tent on the children's playground.
24.2.2000, TDF. First time in human history, 3 SOL-team members find themselves united on Etna. Note how Jürg (left) is mainly concerned with the antarctic temperature, Roby (center) with personal safety, and Marco (right) with his ample food supply.
24.2.2000, f=14 at TDF (JA). You may not be aware of the fact that Etna is populated by troglodytes :-) making use of cavities melted into winter snow by fumaroles. If you find this hard to believe, please mail Roby for further details.
25.2.2000, 17:30, f=28 mm from Torre del Filosofo (MF). The great volcano's shadow high over Aspromonte is greeting us after a wonderful time of Etna's meraviglie.