Etna eruption 2002

Etna eruption 2002 – Piano Provenzana, Etna Nord

The eruption of the Etna volcano of 2002 started the night between the 26th and 27th of October. This was the start of a very sad historical moment, which destroyed the entire tourist site of Piano Provenzana.

A strong and continuous seismic activity, that began around 22.00 hour on the 26 of October, marks the beginning of the great eruption of Etna North. Following the strong tremors, we note a strong explosion of the North-East crater immediately blocked after a brief venting activity.

© Nino La Guzza

Etna eruption “bottoniera” 2002

After this sudden stop, the volcano takes a breath and starts again with a continuous seismic tremor to form a long series of lateral and linear mouths called “bottoniera” that affected the northeast rift. Fractures that quickly one after another begin to make puffs of lava and strong emission of ash.

Quickly the lava started from 2500 meters covering the area of Piano Provenzana and began to destroy the first souvenir stores, already damaged by strong earthquakes, erasing years of history and fun.

© Nino la Guzza

The end of Piano Provenzana in 2002

The power of the volcano, however, does not stop and continues with the opening of the last crater at an altitude of 2100 meters. It was from this point that began the lava flow that completely erased the entire tourist area of Piano Provenzana.

Rapidly the river of incandescent lava covered hotels, restaurants, stores, snowploughs, ski slopes, roads and began its descent towards the Pineta Ragabo heading towards Linguaglossa.

lava etna eruzione 2002 bosco
colata lavica eruzione 2002
fuoco bosco eruzione etna 2002
© Nino La Guzza

The citizens of Linguaglossa in 2002

In the meantime in Linguaglossa there were moments of apprehension and panic both for the continuous seismic activity that continued unceasingly, and to see that incandescent lava river getting closer and closer to the town.

As it happened in the previous eruptions “eruption of 1923” the citizens started immediately to invoke Saint Egidio in fact he was brought in procession until the train station of Linguaglossa.

fuoco lava piano provenzana 2002
eruzione 2002 lava strada

Interventions of containment in 2002

In the meantime, at high altitude, mechanical vehicles arrived to try to contain and control this mass of fire that was rapidly descending towards the Ragabo forest, and had already interrupted the Mareneve connection between Linguaglossa and Fornazzo, destroying everything it came across.

After a few kilometers the lava began to flow into the bottom of the “sciambro”, the only stream that descends from Etna to the valley.

Here the Italian Army immediately started an intervention by creating, with mechanical means, a huge sandbank inside the torrent so as to slow down the flow towards Linguaglossa.

But nature decided after ten days to stop and get to only 50 meters of this embankment.

In this period the lava destroyed about 250 hectares of centuries-old pine forest, oak woods, and the entire tourist area of Piano Provenzana, in addition to all the damage that other structures and roads on the northern side incurred by the earthquake.

The lava stopped just 5 km from the town of Linguaglossa after ten days of that fatal October 27.

The perfect eruption

After years, the eruption of 2002, is called by scholars “the perfect eruption” just for how the eruptive activity has developed.

  • Creating eruptive fractures
  • Formation of spectacular pyroclastic cones
  • Explosive activity and ash fallout for months
  • Threatening lava flows on both flanks of the volcano

Documentary Etna eruption 2002

A documentary was created by the great Rai journalist if not great enthusiast “da muntagna” Etna, Giovanni Tomarchio (video reporter and Rai journalist), entitled La corda spezzata.