The last few weeks have seen a number of spectacular volcanic eruptions from Italy's Etna after 6 months of quiet, starting with the unexpected dual (triple?) eruption on October 26. This past weekend then produced another paroxysm (see video above or image below) from the New Southeast Crater and this eruption was filmed up close by Dr. Boris Behncke from the Osservatorio Etneo. This video is amazing, capturing not only the sights of a strombolian eruption from Etna, but also the booming sounds of the eruption (so have good headphone or speakers ready for the above video). The style of eruption is driven by large coalescing gas bubbles that travel up the lava (magma)-filled conduit and burst as they reach the vent. This bursting generates impressive explosively, throwing all those glowing lava bombs hundreds of meters from the vent. Now, the scale is a little hard to judge, but some of those bombs are likely the size of a desk (meter across?), possibly larger. There is also a lot of smaller material (volcanic ash and tephra) that litter the slopes of the Etna, building the new cones during each eruption. This new eruption on November 17 also produced some small lava flows that snaked down around the base of the crater (see image below). Even when the eruption isn't in full swing, Etna produces incredible volcanic phenomena like these smoke rings.
Etna erupting on November 17, 2013 with the full moon overhead. Image: Dr. Boris Behncke / Flickr. I can't overstate the importance of filming eruptions like this for understanding and monitoring Etna and volcanoes like it. The work that the staff at the Osservatorio Etneo (part of INGV Catania) is exactly what all active volcanoes need, especially ones near population centers. If you want to keep up with everything going on at Etna, be sure to check out Dr. Behncke's Flickr stream. Remember, you can watch these paroxysms at Etna live as well on the multiple of webcams pointed at Etna from the Osservatorio Etneo, Radio7 and EtnaWalk. The Osservatorio Etneo also has webicorders that can show you how much tremor is occurring at the volcano -- a key sign for knowing if an eruption is in the works.