Video page 14.2.2000
The day before the beginning of the extraordinary adventure of STROMBOLI ON-LINE team member Marco Fulle, a "normal" tourist, who later
became a good friend of ours, explored Etna for the first time. His name is Ralf Rühlemann. He told us the story of this 14 February
already the following day, but I did not really "appreciate" it until Ralf, coming back from Monza Gran Prix, came to my house with his
videotape. Unfortunately at that moment I was in Azores Islands.
To give SOL friends an idea of what can happen when one climbs a
volcano without previous information on its ongoing activity, I digitized 4 short videoclips from Ralf's video, showing his extraordinary
day. All videos are presented in MPEG format. The soundtrack is present only when it makes sense, i.e. when wind does not dominate
the soundtrack. As usual: clicking on the icon you will get the video.
After having climbed partly with the cablecar and partly on foot, like many other tourists, for what he thought a normal walk, in the first video Ralf observes that the calm that had characterized South East Cone for all the day is changing into something more violent...
The second videoclip shows the clouds of ash (and not only!) that raise more and more glooming over SEC. Unfortunately the sound is dominated by the wind, and it is therefore not presented here. In the meanwhile Ralf goes to Torre del Filosofo in search of a roof...
The third sequence is really SHOCKING. Bombs fall everywhere around Torre del Filosofo, and in great quantity. It looks like we are in the middle of a hail storm. Please note in the soundtrack (besides the impressive sound of the falling bombs) the breathing of Ralf, that really did not expect anything like this!
Peace has returned to Etna summit area. Ralf profits from the lava to reheat a bit, and recover from the scaring experience. In a few minutes Ralf is transformed from a common tourist into a great volcano fan. During the following days he was always with us... although he preferred the neighbourhoods of the last cablecar station to those of Torre del Filosofo!
|We receive and happily publish a comment on this page by Boris Behncke:|
I saw the same paroxysm from VERY close (about 900m,
that is even closer than Torre del Filosofo), together with Pippo Scarpinati, after deciding NOT to go to the Torre del Filosofo
because it was downwind of the crater. Furthermore our vantage point was not in line with the eruptive fracture on the S side of the
cone, which showed its potential during the paroxysm the day after.We felt the heat of the fountains, we heard the crashing noise of
the falling pyroclastics, and we did see someone run for his life towards the Torre del Filosofo building, now I guess I know who that
was. We did not receive one single grain of ash at our observation point, but ash did arrive, on the downwind side, as far as 80km
south of Etna, and scoria clasts larger than 5cm in diameter fell at the cable car station. Really, it was impressing to see how
crucial the decision was not to go to the TDF, and I have always maintained it.
Our experience of the 14 February paroxysm -
our St. Valentine day's meeting with the fiery lover - was hauntingly beautiful, and I have always been proud of my decision to avoid
TDF on that day (even Pippo, who had been many hundreds of times on Etna before I first got there, would have gone there, he told me).
I would like to share my experience of that same event, if you like you can add some words about this on the page with the video clips.
Video Ralf Rühlemann