Stromboli, lava flows &...

 February / March 2007



by Martin Rietze

On the 27.02.07 a large explosion took place at Stromboli volcano, causing subsidence of the Eastern part of the crater terrace at just above 600m.  The summit region was extensively covered by the resulting ashfall. The neighbouring islands were warned and ships rerouted.

Gif animations



Shortly afterwards, two effusive fissures opened below the collapsed terrace at an altitude of approximately 400 and 500m. Over a short period, large quantities of lava were emitted from these vents, resulting in the formation of a delta at the base of the Sciara del Fuoco.


I heard about the eruption one day after ibegan, on the 28th of March. In the afternoon i decided to book the first flight to Catania the next morning. Thus it was possible to standoverlooking the lava stream on the evening of the 29th of February, a new record!  Things nearly went wrong, as strong waves nearly exceeded the safety-limit of the hydrofoil. The boat nevertheless reached the island briefly after sunset.


The reflection of the lava stream in the background of the settlements appeared dramatic.



Inspite of the fast journey the high lava output had decreased, and now the two lava streams clearly were being fed from a single vent at approx. 400m.



Emission was rapid, yet not explosive. Nearly comparably with the Bocca Nuova lava stream at Mt. Etna last November.


This activity persisted without major fluctuations for the next days. Sporadic littoral explosions resulted from the entrance of lava into the sea. The steam pressure driving these tephra jets resulted in ejected material reaching significant heights.


This could be observed particularly well from a chartered boat containing myself and further well-known friends (Marco, Tom, Marc etc..), with which we approached the sea entry on the 4th of March.



Unfortunately, cloud cover down to 400m made observation difficult. Only on Sunday morning the weather changed and it became clear and windless.



My departure was scheduled for Monday.  Thus the last hours were rather hectic. Ascent to a level of 400m was possible, attempts to ascend further were prevented by the police although without further consequences such as a penalty. Climbing as far as the summit area was however strictly prohibited. Even in the morning there were controls, as Marc unfortunately found out.  Nevertheless, i decided to investigate the summit area.  The large quantity of brown ash was surprising, and my footprints were the first on the trail.


The complete 600m terrace with the old Hornitos has broken and a large crack has formed between the crater area and the terrace below. The summit area appeared completely calm during my visit, and no traces of last years hornitos could be seen. Maybe they collapsed, but dense sulphur dioxide rich gases prevented a visual assessment. Due to the already early morning appearance of helicopters (Hawaii Feeling) it was necessary to retreat. So I descended rapidly to a less sensitive area. Nevertheless nice memories remained, including feeling the considerable warmth of the lava stream whilst perched on a rock at approx. 350m altitude. Climbing down directly to the flow appeared to me senseless, since the island administration would have probably reacted 100% unpleasantly.


After my departure the activity changed several times, and after I left, small pyroclastic flows were observed. See Stromboli online. All in all it was the experience of a completely different Stromboli eruption behaviour after years of conventional activity. The impressions had been of a rather aesthetic nature, but access to the lava is much more difficult than at Mt. Etna or in Hawaii.


Impressions of the island

The total moon eclipse

But that was not all, an celestial extra benifit was shown by the red moon during the total moon eclipse. 

For more images of the February and March eruptions jump to

ALPE by Martin Rietze



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 ©2007 photos and text by M.Rietze, Tansl. Roscoe / Boeckel, last modification 12.5.200

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