- flank eruption on both Etna's N and S side in 2002: the eruptive fissure on the N side -

Lava fountains on Etna's north flank, 28 Oct. 2002 Lava founatins throwing bombs onto Monte Frumento, where they cause bushfires.

27-28 October: first views of fiery Etna during the night


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Etna and the active fissure seen from the pass between Novara and Francavilla di Sicilia during the night of 27-28 October.
On the right 135mm zoom photo, lightning is visible in the ash plume rising from the NE crater (above right on picture).

Lights of Castiglione di Sicilia and an ignited Etna in the background. Almost there: explosions behind the last ridge between the eruption and us!

28 October early morning: lava fountains from the 1800m fissure vents on Etna's N flank

Flank eruption from a fissure on Etna's North flank, Oct. 2002 Flank eruption from a fissure on Etna's North flank, Oct. 2002 thm_etna_27734.jpg
26 hours after the sudden onset of the eruption: The lower part of the fissure on the N side of Etna with 10-15 active vents. Lava fountains reaching 100m height are rising constantly from 7 vents.  In the right background, the ash-plume emitted from the S fissure on the other side of the mountain is visible. The upper part of the N fissure has already ceased to erupt. The lava flows from them are still degassing.
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Occasionally, one of the craters produces dense ash-plumes. Close views of the 50-100 m high lava fountain from the lowermost vents.

28 October

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The shadow of the observer (l) and Stephane (r) relaxing on a wonderful clear day (on the upwind side of Etna...) enjoying the view over the active fissure...

Active craters and bursting magma bubbles.
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The new crater row, Sicily, the Straight of Messina and Calabria in the background.

Stephane observes the diminished activity from Monte Nero.

The lava fountain from the lowermost vents remains stable throughout the day. 

28 October: evening and night

Ash clouds from Etna's eruption, Oct. 2002

Sunrays illuminate the steam and ash clouds emitted from various vents: below steam from the (now inactive) upper vents of the N fissure at ca. 2500m, in the back right steam from NE crater and Bocca Nuova, in the back left a powerful ash-plume from the S-fissure behind the summit drifting towards Catania.

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Exploding magma bubble. During such explosions, the ground was strongly shaken. Instead of continuous lava fountains, all but the lowermost vents have changed to powerful strombolian activity. 

The fissure with at at least 7 visibly active vents. 

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Lava flows and ejected material from a methane explosion (l) caused by burning vegetation. Lava flow emerging from the middle vent. Explosions from the upper vents.
thm_etna_28608.jpg Lava fountains from the active fissure on Etna's north flank, Nort-East crater's silhouette in the background thm_etna_28533.jpg

The active vents of the fissure fall into two clusters: a group of 2 or 3 vents on the lowest part of the fissure (left picture) with strombolian activity and 4 major vents in a row above (right picture). The lowest one of these 4 vents is still continuously fountaining. Lava flows emerge from the base of the cones and move towards the left.

Strong fountains from the new fissure, lava bombs land all around. thm_etna_28519.jpg Lava founatins throwing bombs onto Monte Frumento, where they cause bushfires.

Strombolian activity illuminates Monte Frumento. The silhouette of the NE crater and stars in the background.

Powerful bursts of exploding bubbles shower the NW side of Monte Frumento with bombs which cause causing small bush fires.

30 October: morning

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Breaking of day. Lava flows with lights of the town of Linguaglossa in background. 

L: Strombolian explsoions from the upper craters. R: Powerful ash emissions begin to appear intermittently from one of the middle vents in the active row, probably related to beginning subsidence of the magma column and internal collapse.

The upper part of the fissure in strong activity. In the background, the ash plume from the S vent.
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The intermittent fountains from the lowest (l) and the middle (r) main vents.

The activity has concentrated on a group of 4 vents on the upper part of the active fiissure. The lowest one is fountaining, the others are in strombolian activity. 

31 October

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The activity has diminished considerably on the N side. Lava fountaining has given place to sporadic strombolian activity at the row of the upper vents. One of them emits dense ash plumes.

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The vents at 2500m elevation on the N fissure are steaming and emitting ash, but no coarse material is ejected.

The plume from the S fissure  towering over the summit of Etna.

Cooling lava flows from the uppermost vents (ca. 2500m elevation) of the N fissure.

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Marco standing in front of a fractures on the interrupted access road from the N side to the summit area. 

Bottomless collapsed pit craters on the upper extension of the N fractures.