The significance of the 1971 flank eruption of Etna from volcanological and historic viewpoints

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Stefano Branca
Daniele Musumeci
Luigi Ingaliso


The 1971 eruption represents a benchmark in the recent history of Etna volcano. From a

volcanological point of view, this eruption was characterised by complex intrusive dynamics

associated with significant ground deformation that induced the activation of the Moscarello

seismogenic fault and the formation of a new summit crater: the Southeast Crater. At the same

time, the 1971 event marks an important change in the eruptive style and composition of the magma

towards products richer in K. It is no coincidence that, over the next fifty years, there would be an

increase in the frequency of summit and flank eruptions and associated output rate. From an

historical viewpoint, the eruptive event of 1971 was the first important flank eruption studied by

the International Institute of Volcanology: the analysis of the scientific articles on this activity

reveals a greater multidisciplinary content in the descriptions and explanations of volcanic activity.

Particularly important were the collaborations of British and French research groups that, together

with their Italian colleagues, succeeded in giving a complete picture of the eruption and describing

the state of knowledge on the Sicilian volcano. The multidisciplinary methodology used to study this

 eruption is still valid today.

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How to Cite
Branca, S., Musumeci, D. . and Ingaliso, L. (2021) “The significance of the 1971 flank eruption of Etna from volcanological and historic viewpoints”, Annals of Geophysics, 64(5), p. VO543. doi: 10.4401/ag-8669.