Etna is once more giving us a break,after a short episode of Strombolian activity and small intracrater lava flows within its Bocca Nuova crater (2-7 October 2012) - a good occasion to go through recent photo archives and pick some gems that until now have not received the deserved appreciation.
So here is one of these, a mosaic of three photographs taken on 28 March 2012, during one of my numerous visits to Etna's summit area. It shows the new cone of the Southeast Crater rising proudly from a place that one year earlier looked very, very different, obscuring the old cone of the Southeast Crater in the left background. After I took this photo, the new cone erupted three more times, which made it grow some more. And thus, Etna built itself the newest volcanic mountain on Earth - after the last episode of lava fountaining on 24 April 2012, the cone was more than 200 m tall. Amazingly, this whole cone was constructed during no more than 48 hours of lava fountaining activity (there was no growth between the lava fountains), which is the fastest growth of a new volcanic cone ever documented. The famous Parícutin volcano in Mexico grew some 150 m during the first week of its life in 1943, and the "Laghetto" cone on the south flank of Etna rose to nearly 100 m height in about 6 days in 2001 - impressive growth rates, but not as impressive as that of the new Southeast Crater cone!
This view is from near the "Belvedere" monitoring station about 700 m southeast of the top of the cone