Mount Etna erupts


10:40 AM

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Mount Etna erupts Blog Image

What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in news?
  • Volcano
  • What is a volcano?
  • Volcanoes particularly active in Pacific Ring of Fire
  • Can scientists predict volcanic eruptions?
  • What is Mount Etna?

Why in news?

  • The Mount Etna volcano began erupting again on the island of Sicily, sending ash miles into the sky.
  • The eruptive column is estimated to be more than 14,700 feet above sea level.
  • It should be noted that of volcanic eruptions only reaches the headlines when the big ones erupt — Etna, Kilauea, Mauna Loa, Merapi, Eyjafjallajökull or Fagradalsfjall.
  • However, at any time during a given year, there may be as many as 50 to 80 fresh eruptions around the world.
    • E.g., Data from the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program suggests that 56 volcanoes erupted in the first six months of 2023.

What is a volcano?

  • About
    • Volcanoes are openings, or vents where lava, tephra (small rocks), and steam erupt onto the Earth’s surface.
    • Volcanoes can be on land and in the ocean.
    • They are, in part, a result of their own eruptions but also the general formation of our planet, as tectonic plates move.
  • Types
    • There are four main types of volcanoes: cinder cones, composite or strato volcanoes, shield volcanoes and lava domes.
    • Their type is determined by how the lava from an eruption flows and how that flow affects the volcano, and, as a result, how it affects its surrounding environment.
  • Eruption
    • Essentially, it is a case of magma, or molten rock, below the surface of the Earth, bubbling up, rising and overflowing,.
    • The magma finds its way to vents in the volcano and gets spewed across the land and into the atmosphere.
    • When magma erupts from a volcano, it is called lava.

Volcanoes particularly active in Pacific Ring of Fire

  • Pacific Ring of Fire includes New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Japan and the western coast of the Americas.
  • About 90% of all earthquakes worldwide strike within this region.

Can scientists predict volcanic eruptions?

  • Scientists are capable of predicting volcanic eruptions hours, or sometimes several days, in advance.
    • This is not the case with earthquakes, which are much harder to predict.
  • Scientists use seismographic data from earthquakes and other tremors, because those can be a precursor to volcanic eruptions.
  • They monitor the ground for signs of deformation, which may be caused by the movement of magma.
  • They also take readings of volcanic gas emissions, and changes in gravity and magnetic fields.

Mount Etna

  • About
    • Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, Italy.
    • It is Europe’s most active volcano and one of the largest in the world. Its recorded volcanic activity dates back to 1500 B.C.
    • Since then, it has erupted more than 200 times.
    • Etna has displayed a variety of eruption styles, including violent explosions and voluminous lava flows.
  • Other volcanoes erupt for much longer than Etna
    • One of the most famous long-term eruptions was Kilauea volcano on Hawaii.
      • Its spewing spree in 1983 continued — almost nonstop — for 35 years until 2018, only to start again in 2021. The eruption is still ongoing.
    • Dukono in Indonesia started erupting in August 1933 and is still continuing.
    • Santa Maria in Guatemala began erupting in June 1922 and continues to this day.
    • Yasur in Vanuatu first rumbled to life in about 1270 (± 110 years) and as of June 2023, was still erupting.

Q1) What is stratovolcano?

Stratovolcanoes have relatively steep sides and are more cone-shaped than shield volcanoes. They are formed from viscous, sticky lava that does not flow easily. The lava therefore builds up around the vent forming a volcano with steep sides.

Q2) What is Pacific Ring of Fire?

The Pacific Ring of Fire is a tectonic belt that encircles the Pacific Ocean. It is also known as the Circum-Pacific Belt or the Pacific Rim.

Source: Mount Etna erupts: Why some volcanoes just keep spewing lava | Foxweather |