UFO landing on planet Earth? Etna is rich in alien landscapes, not necessarily related to ongoing activity. This is the lava tube of 1971 eruption at a few meters from the vent: a hole in the roof allows sunlight (and the leaves on the ground) to enter. Etna is famous for hundreds of lava tubes, some of which can be visitted, the most impressive being the Ice Cave.
The sequence of paroxysms at the South-East Crater is going on since three years. The latest one occurred just before Christmas 2013. A happy New Year from Etna, shrouded in blankets of fog!
In 2010 and 2011, many big eruptions (Eyjafjallajökull, Merapi, Kirishima, Grimsvotn, Cordon Caulle and Nabro) have put a lot of aerosols and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. As a result, the total lunar eclipse of 15 June 2011 was one of the darkest of the last decades (photo by Marco Fulle, Sistiana).
Rafael Werndli reports an unusually hight lava level in the pit crater on Erta Ale in mid February 2010 (left). Occasional floodings of the uppermost terrace were observed. In addition a hornito was active in the north crater (upper right), ejecting scoriae and small lava flows (lower right) [more on Erta Ale].
Etna, 9.11.2009: mild strombolian activity inside the new vent on the eastern side of South East Cone and cumulus cloud above Valle del Bove (at right). Etna has started a new summit eruptive phase, we hope as spectacular as ten years ago.
Marco has started to download to SOL ground-based laboratories precious results on activity in lava lakes recorded by the PASMEX4LL payload. When the International Space Station reached the sky over Calabria (bottom right), Etna started the most violent eruption of historic times (1.4.2009).
Ten years ago, Etna started one of its spectacular displays of steam rings (bottom left photo, October 1999). Vesuvius too (aerial photo taken during the flight to Erta Ale in February 2008) erupted huge steam rings, like that on a medal at bottom right, dated 1830 AD. It shows the Sebeto River reaching out to one of them with his left hand.
Very sadly, Thomas Reichert (here some of his last photos) died on Etna on November 29th, 2008, after returning to the volcano in order to continue recording the ongoing eruption. Our thoughts are with Thomas, who lost his life persuing a passion shared by us, and with his family and friends.
Our italo-chilean friend Alberto Trivero Rivera recorded from Chiloe Island (southern Chile) the subplinian eruption (May 2008) of Chaiten volcano, which erupted after a period of inactivity which has lasted for about 9400 years.
Mammatus Clouds (breast shape!) were observed by Marco from his home in Sistiana (Trieste, Italy, top panels) after a thunderstorm on 2 April 2008. Very similar formations were seen in Etna plumes from the Southeast Crater in June 2000.
Marco Fulle has been selected as mission specialist for Space Shuttle mission STS 125 to the International Space Station due to launch in April 2009. Fulle will be operating PASMEX4LL (PAyload bay Small EXperiment for Lava Lakes) in ESA's Columbus Laboratoy (1.4.2008).
Two kilometres south of Pozzillo Etna lava flows of Santa Tecla are accessible. Here the Arabs built a tower on one of the basaltic pinnacles. Note thin interference arclets just inside the primary rainbow which extends even below the local horizon. Photo Marco Fulle 21. October 2007.
SOL's research project on Pele's hair: In December 2006 Roberto Carniel undertook a research project into the formation and metamorphosis of the volcanological phenomen commonly referred to as Pele's hair: Preliminary results of this study (1.4.2007).
SOL team members are fascinated by astronomical phenomena as well as volcanic landscapes. During twilight of 12 January 2007, Marco enjoyed the rare view of the bright head of comet McNaught at perihelion, halfway between the planet Mercury and the Sun, plunging into a red "lava lake"!
Lava people: Special thanks to Tom Pfeiffer, Giovanni Tomarchio, Etna Guides, in particular Rosario Basile (photo), Turi Carbonaro, Andrea Ercolani, Carmelo Ferlito, Alfio, Andrea and Nino Mazzaglia, to Finanza Guards, Etna Park Rangers and INGV volcanologists, in particular Boris Behncke, Sonia Calvari and Marco Neri.
Construction has started of a new touristic complex on the volcanic neck northeast of Stromboli island, known as Strombolicchio. Plans call for a five star hotel offering up to 50 luxury suites, all facing the island of Stromboli (1.4.2006).
From some deep layers within SOL layers we bring back to light the Lalibela churches, deeply buried in and excavated from lava traps in the Ethiopian highlands [more].
Due to the decline of tourism on Stromboli, hotel and restaurant owners have resorted to unexpected measures. In order to reduce dependency on local income they recently began to adopt a strategy of diversification by joining forces with mainland and overseas investors ;-)
Stromboli online may be the «dinosaur» of volcanosites, but it is very much alive and kicking! We are proud of our 10th anniversary and celebrate this monumental date by offering much improved and bigger than ever videoclips of the lava lake of Erta Ale.
Marco and Jürg, when visiting the 2004 flank eruption of Etna, also encountered an eruption of ladybirds. Millions were seen at Etna South (2000 m.a.s.l.) and many also tavelled up the mountain to nearly 3000 m.a.s.l.
Dangerous and difficult is the work of a volcanologist. Locomotion in the field is often by unusual means of transport. Here Jürg is seen en route to field research on the great volcanic island of Lipari.
Maintaining Stromboli online is, occasionally, compromised by Jürg's neighbour's cat. "Fumo's" ("Smoky" in English) affection for all matters volcanic are understandable but sometimes leads to typos on our pages. Yes - they are all Fumo's fault!
Christmas on Stromboli: A photo kindly sent to us by Stromboli resident.