The Dates of the Last Two Eruptions of Mount Etna


Mount Etna, located on the eastern coast of Sicily, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Its frequent eruptions have fascinated scientists and intrigued visitors for centuries. In this article, we will explore the dates and details of the two most recent eruptions of Mount Etna.

The First Eruption: Date and Overview

The first of the two recent eruptions occurred on February 16, 2021. This eruption, often referred to as the “Paroxysmal Eruption,” was characterized by intense explosive activity and the emission of lava fountains and ash plumes. The event lasted for several hours, with the lava flows reaching the southeastern flank of the volcano.

Activity Timeline

The eruption began at around 3:30 PM local time, when a series of powerful explosions shook the summit area of Mount Etna. Lava fountains quickly emerged from the southeastern crater, reaching heights of over 1 kilometer. The explosive activity produced dense ash plumes that rose high into the sky, carried by the wind towards the east.

At around 4:00 PM, the first lava flow was observed. It traveled down the southeastern slope of the volcano, threatening nearby rural areas. The flow gradually advanced, covering a distance of approximately 2 kilometers before stopping.

The eruption continued throughout the night, with periodic explosions and the emission of volcanic ash. By the morning of February 17, the intensity of the eruption had significantly decreased, and the lava fountains had ceased. However, smaller ash emissions and sporadic explosions were still observed for several days.

The Second Eruption: Date and Overview

The most recent eruption of Mount Etna occurred on February 24, 2021, just eight days after the previous event. This eruption, known as the “Strombolian Eruption,” was characterized by continuous lava fountaining and the emission of volcanic gases.

Activity Timeline

The second eruption began in the early hours of February 24, with the reactivation of the southeastern crater. Lava fountains quickly emerged, reaching heights of up to 500 meters. The continuous activity produced a persistent ash plume that drifted towards the east.

Throughout the day, the lava fountains remained active, accompanied by frequent explosions and the emission of volcanic gases. The lava flows were mainly confined to the summit area, with no significant threat to nearby populated areas.

By the evening of February 24, the eruption had started to decline in intensity, with the lava fountains gradually decreasing in height. The activity continued to decrease over the following days, until it eventually ceased on February 27.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Are the eruptions of Mount Etna predictable?

    The eruptions of Mount Etna are generally difficult to predict with a high degree of accuracy. While scientists can monitor volcanic activity and identify potential signs of an impending eruption, the exact timing and intensity of each event remain uncertain.

  2. What are the potential hazards associated with Mount Etna eruptions?

    Mount Etna eruptions can pose several hazards, including lava flows, ashfall, volcanic gases, and pyroclastic flows. These hazards can impact nearby communities, infrastructure, and air quality.

  3. How frequently does Mount Etna erupt?

    Mount Etna has a long history of frequent eruptions. On average, the volcano experiences several eruptions each year, with some periods of increased activity resulting in more frequent events.

  4. What is the current status of Mount Etna?

    As of the writing of this article, Mount Etna is in a state of relative calm. However, the volcano remains active, and future eruptions are expected.

  5. How does Mount Etna impact the surrounding environment?

    Mount Etna’s eruptions can have both positive and negative impacts on the surrounding environment. While volcanic activity enriches the soil and supports unique ecosystems, it can also cause damage to vegetation and contribute to air pollution.

  6. Can visitors safely observe Mount Etna eruptions?

    Visitors can often observe Mount Etna eruptions from designated viewing areas, accompanied by experienced guides. However, it is essential to follow safety guidelines and heed any warnings or restrictions issued by local authorities.

  7. Has Mount Etna ever caused significant damage?

    Throughout history, Mount Etna has caused significant damage to nearby towns and infrastructure. The most destructive eruption in recent times occurred in 1669 when the lava flows reached the city of Catania, resulting in widespread destruction.

  8. What measures are in place to monitor Mount Etna’s activity?

    A comprehensive monitoring system is in place to track Mount Etna’s activity. This system includes seismometers, gas analyzers, thermal cameras, and satellite observations, providing valuable data for scientists to assess volcanic behavior.

  9. Scientists and researchers are continually studying Mount Etna to enhance our understanding of volcanic processes and improve eruption forecasting. Ongoing projects focus on monitoring techniques, hazard assessment, and the volcano’s geological history.

  10. What can we learn from studying Mount Etna eruptions?

    Studying Mount Etna eruptions provides valuable insights into volcanic behavior, magma dynamics, and the interplay between tectonic forces. This knowledge contributes to the development of strategies for volcanic hazard mitigation and the protection of nearby communities.


The dates of the two most recent eruptions of Mount Etna were February 16, 2021, and February 24, 2021. These eruptions showcased the volcano’s dynamic nature, with varying levels of explosive activity, lava fountaining, and the emission of volcanic gases. As Mount Etna continues to captivate scientists and visitors alike, ongoing research and monitoring efforts will contribute to a better understanding of this remarkable natural phenomenon.

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