Etna eruptions are usually of two types: explosive or effusive. Explosive eruptions are eruptions with Strombolian type activities, that is, with the emission of gas and lapilli from the summit craters or from lateral craters (flank eruptions). The effusive eruptions are instead characterized by the emission of lava, often from a lateral fracture, and the formation of a lava flow.
The greatest number of eruptions poses no danger to the population and population centers. In these cases we almost speak of “tourist” eruptions that only give a great show. Etna can also erupt several times in a year from the top craters and on average it develops massive and long lasting eruptions every ten years. Examples are the last major eruptions of 2001 and 2002 which devastated the ski slopes and the Etna cableway, from 1991/93 inside the Valle del Bove, from 1983 still on the cable car, from 1981 which almost reached the town of Randazzo. And then again the eruptions that in the past, not too far from us, reached the inhabited centers damaging them. The most recent of these are the Mascali eruption of 1928 which devastated the town almost entirely, the eruption of Lunguaglossa in 1923 and that of Belpasso in 1910. Among the most impressive to remember the eruption of 1669 that reached Catania in how much the eruptive mouth developed only 800 meters above sea level, near the Red Mountains.
HIKING NOTES: Regardless of the type, watching a live lava flow is a truly unique emotion. In the presence of active eruptions, we organize excursions to see this extraordinary natural phenomenon up close (and safely …).