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Mount Etna's Weird Case of Wandering Craters Popping Out of Nowhere

Sep 06, 2016 04:10 AM EDT
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A study found in an online journal chronicles the curious case of Mount Etna's wandering craters, appearing in various spots on the volcano.

According to Science Daily, Mount Enta's summits seems to keep popping out in different locations of this stratovolcano. Located in Sicily, Italy, Mount Enta is known as one of the most active volcanoes around.

Professor Valerio Acocella of Rome Tre University and his colleagues from Ingv Catania believe that Etna is a "perfect for study" to learn more about mature volcanoes because of its peculiar craters and cones that suddenly come out of nowhere after an eruption.

Whenever Mount Etna erupts, there is always a possibility of a birth of another cone. For example, if the southern crater erupts, it is possible that another crater down from that southern crater will soon grow. And it doesn't end there. Years after, that new formed crater will be the main crater on which a new eruption will happen -- and the cycle continues.

What is the possible reason for this? According to the researchers, it must be because of the "instability of the volcano's eastern flank." The movements in the lower eastern side of the mountain resulted to the '"sinking" of the summit's weight, as if being cut away. This creates tensions on the mountain as a whole.

What is even more fascinating, this wandering eruptive craters are moving faster than a normal volcano. It took less than a decade for the activity of the southeastern crater to move to a new southeastern crater, according to the results published in the online journal Frontiers in Earth Science

This study does not only aim to be an "academic study," but also to recognize and possibly predicting on where -- not when -- will the next eruption of Mount Etna be.

The formation of the the new southeastern crater is what the the researchers are now closely monitoring because this means that it has the potential to bring more volcanic hazards and explosive eruptions that will affect the people living below the mountain.

Mount Etna has a reputation of having the longest eruptions in history that are explosive and sometimes, deadly. Mount Etna is a mountain with a series of stratovolcanoes that has four summit craters, with two main craters called Bocca Nuova and Voragine; the Northeast crater; and the newest Southeast crater, which was formed by an eruption in 1978, according to Live Science.

Read:
Awakening the Giant! Iceland's Largest Volcano Might Erupt After Unusual Big Quakes
Italian Volcano Develops New, Actively Spewing Craters
Ahuna Mons: Giant Ice Volcano Half the Size of Mt. Everest Spotted on Dwarf Planet Ceres

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