Satellite images have shown that Mount Etna, Europe’s tallest and most active volcano, has erupted so much in the past six months that it has grown 30 meters in height.
Etna’s youngest and most active crater has grown to a record 3,357 meters above sea level, according to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), located in the Sicilian city of Catania.
“Through the analysis and processing of satellite images, we saw that the southeastern crater is now much higher than its ‘big brother’, the northeastern crater, which for 40 years was the undisputed peak of Mount Etna,” says a press release from INGV.
This sudden growth spurt is the result of about 50 eruptions in the southeastern crater since February 16, 2021, which have resulted in “a noticeable change in the shape of the volcano,” according to INGV. Scientists have discovered an explosive growth when analyzing images taken by the Pléiades satellites taken on July 13 and 25. The data has an error of about 3 m.
After the eruption of the northeastern crater in 1980 and 1981, it reached a maximum height of 3350 m. But this height decreased over the years, when the edges of the crater collapsed. As of the summer of 2018, the northeastern crater was 3326 m high.
It is believed that Mount Etna originated as an underwater volcano that slowly rose above sea level, erupting over and over again, gradually increasing in height due to solidified lava.