1991-1992 eruption of Etna
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Etna volcano, Sicily, Italy

The 1991-1993 Valle del Bove eruption

Last modified on 22 February 1996

95 kb JPG image

Lava flows of the December 1991-March 1993 eruption in Valle del Bove, on the evening of 20 March 1992. Numerous flows issue from ephemeral boccas.

Etna produced its most voluminous and longest-lasting flank eruption since about 300 years between 14 December 1991 and 30 March 1993. Much of the southern part of Valle del Bove was filled with a thick compound lava field. The eruption, though not particularly vigorous in terms of explosivity and eruptive rates, became the most publicized eruptive event at Etna so far, mostly due to the successful diversion of lava flows that threatened the town of Zafferana Etnea. The lessons from the 1991-1993 eruption should, however, not imply that man is now capable of controlling the volcano.

Summit activity between summer 1990 and summer 1991

Etna's summit craters had several periods of eruptive activity during the 22 months following the end of the SE Crater lava fountaining episodes in February 1990. Bocca Nuova was active in July-August and November-December 1990, with Strombolian activity and lava emission from several small cones on its floor. Both eruptive periods ended with strong ash emission that led to slight ash falls in areas on the flanks of the volcano (on 7 August and 27 December 1990). Strombolian activity resumed in Bocca Nuova and at SE Crater in August 1991, but no eruptive activity was noted by Jon Dehn and myself during a visit to Etna's summit area on 23 August 1991.

The Valle del Bove eruption

Diversion of the lava flow

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