Etna summit craters
The active craters of the Etna volcano are found only in the summit part, and represent the central part of the volcanic activity.
In the summit part of Etna we assist to the persistent fumarolic activity, and at more or less regular time intervals to explosive events of various forms such as: strombolian activities, lava fountains, expulsion of duct obstructions, freatic activities, these participate to the continuous modifications of the morphology of the summit area.
There are currently four main active craters:
- The Northeast Crater, created in 1911
- Voragine, created in 1945
- Bocca Nuova, created in 1968
- The South-East Craters, created in 1971
North East Crater
The Northeast Crater was formed in 1911 at an altitude of 3100 meters, and its height grew normally until 1950, when it then collapsed. The structure of the northeast crater is very complex, because it was created by several phases of overlapping eruptions.
The Northeast Crater has a circumference of about 800 meters. In 1973 the Northeast Crater reached a height of 3290 m. and in 1978 the crater was 3345 meters high, currently it is 3340 meters high. This is also the highest point of Mount Etna.
Among the most important eruptions of this crater we remember the one that took place in 1955 with a lava flow that lasted 9 years, until 1964.
Another important event was in 1986 when a huge explosion of gas and sand formed a huge “mushroom rose above the volcano Etna”.
The last eruption of the Northeast Crater was in 2013.
The Voragine crater was created in October 1945. This crater is nicknamed after the pit crater because of its explosive eruptions. The last major eruption was on September 4, 1999. After that the Voragine crater woke up again in 2013.
The last eruption of the Voragine crater was in 2013.
The Bocca Nuova crater was formed in May 1968. Initially, the crater was only a small 8-meter hole, gradually increasing in size until it reached 330 meters in 1983.
After a period of silence from 1997 the crater of Bocca Nuova awakened again and together with the crater of Voragine, they were filled with lava. The diaphragm that divided the two craters collapsed due to the various eruptions of the crater of Voragine and the frequent and high Strombolian activity.
The last eruption of the Bocca Nuova crater was in 2013.
South East Crater
The Southeast Crater was formed in 1971. After twenty years of silence it returned to activity in 1998 and began to reach an altitude of 3230 meters. In 2000 the Southeast Crater produced at least 66 lava fountains.
The last signs of life from this crater date back to 2007, forming a “new southeast crater” you foot of the cone. Between 2011 and 2013, this new formation reached the impressive height of the other craters.
Just in 2021 the two south-east craters have merged forming one and continuing the Strombolian activity visible from the surrounding villages, giving at night a spectacular show.