They’ve been joined by amateur eruption enthusiasts all over the world who have been following Stromboli’s spectacular activity via a live web cam.
The volcano, located on the island of the same name north of Sicily, has been showing higher than usual activity since an explosion on December 1st, according to the Catania section of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, which monitors Stromboli.
Thermal images of the crater area, showing the lava overflowing and then cooling. Photo: INGV Catania
On December 15th, a new lava flow was observed from the volcano’s north-eastern crater.
A vent began to shoot out spurts of molten lava which could then be seen flowing out of the crater and down the Sciara del Fuoco (“stream of fire”), the part of Stromboli’s northern slope scarred by centuries of eruptions.
The flow of lava has since stopped, but volcanic activity remains elevated. Access to the volcano's higher slopes has been closed for safety.
Eruptions are hardly unusual at Stromboli, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. It has been erupting almost continuously for most of the past 85 years.
Geologists even coined a term, “Strombolian”, to describe the distinctive type of eruption with which the volcano is associated: series of mild but spectacular bursts that send molten rock and ash shooting into the air as high as hundreds of metres.
Stromboli’s eruptions can be seen from far and wide, especially at night, leading some to dub it the “lighthouse of the Mediterranean”. It's a popular attraction for visitors to the island, who can observe the natural fireworks from a safe distance at a mountainside viewpoint.
Lava flowing from Stromboli's craters in 2014. Photo: Giovanni Isolino/AFP