Etna’s first lava fountain of 2023

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Etna’s first lava fountain of 2023 at the South East Crater


Grafico del Tremore Vulcanico dell'Etna, con il picco che indica il momento in cui è stata prodotta la fontana di lava

Graphic of the volcanic tremor of Etna, with the peak indicating the moment when the lava fountain was produced – SOURCE INGV-OE


During the morning of May 21, 2023 at 8:00 am, explosive activity suddenly began at Southeast Crater and immediately evolved into lava fountaining.

The cloud cover prevented the observation of the volcanic phenomenon which was characterized by the formation of one or more lava fountains, considering the consistent fallout deposit of explosive material (ashes and scoria) along the sides of the volcano, jets were generated of lava sustained for about 3 hours, at a height of at least 500/600 meters above the rim of the same crater.

This event of a violent and extremely dangerous nature, due to its sudden evolution, does not represent a risk for inhabited centers. However, an explosive activity of this type is very dangerous for anyone approaching the summit area of the volcano, considering that in 2021 alone the Etna volcano produced 57 similar events. Recent studies have affirmed that the volcano is evolving its activities which today are more explosive (launching of volcanic materials into the atmosphere) rather than effusive (emissions of quiet lava flows), for this reason it is necessary to inform yourself well before making the ascents up to to the top. Knowing the rules and conditions of the volcano is extremely important, which is why we do not recommend venturing alone into risk areas ⚠️.

The eruption of May 21, 2023 also produced vast lava flows that developed towards the Valle del Bove and in the direction of the Etna cable car station, stopping at an altitude of 2650 meters. However, the cable car would not have been affected if the eruption continued, which is currently over.

The eruptive event in fact lasted 3/4 hours, these are the classic timings of these types of eruptions, highly explosive and violent.

What about the excursions ?

The hiking activities are carried out regularly, the warnings 🔔 blocking excursions above 2000 meters of altitude as per ordinance n.29 of 18/05/2023 of the Municipality of Linguaglossa (Etna North) have been revoked by ordinance n. 31 of 10/05/2023 therefore ordinance n.55 becomes active again as described on the page dedicated to accessing the craters of Etna, where the obligatory accompaniment of volcanological and alpine guides in the summit areas of the Etna volcano is foreseen.

Further updates will be communicated

Article written by : Vincenzo Greco

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