Stromboli is an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the north coast of Sicily, containing Mount Stromboli, one of the three active volcanoes in Italy. It is one of the eight Aeolian Islands, a volcanic arc north of Sicily. Strabo writes that people believed that this is where Aeolus lived.
The island’s area is 12.6 square kilometres, on the upper third of the volcano that is above sea level and making an island. The volcano has erupted many times and is constantly active with minor eruptions, often visible from many points on the island and from the surrounding sea, giving rise to the island’s nickname “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean”.
Mount Stromboli has been in almost continuous eruption for the past 5,000 years; its last serious one occurred in 1921. A pattern of eruption is maintained in which explosions occur at the summit craters, with mild to moderate eruptions of incandescent volcanic bombs, a type of tephra, at intervals ranging from minutes to hours. This pattern of Strombolian eruption, as it is known, is also observed at other volcanoes worldwide.
Eruptions from the summit craters typically result in a few short, mild, but energetic bursts, ranging up to a few hundred meters in height, containing ash, incandescent lava fragments and stone blocks. Stromboli’s activity is almost exclusively explosive, but lava flows do occur at times when volcanic activity is high: an effusive eruption occurred in 2002, the first in 17 years, and again in 2003, 2007, and 2013–14. Volcanic gas emissions from this volcano are measured by a multi-component gas analyzer system, which detects pre-eruptive degassing of rising magma, improving the prediction of volcanic activity.
On 3 July 2019, two major explosive events occurred at around 16:46 local time, alongside 20 additional minor explosive events identified by Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology. A hiker near the volcano’s summit died after being struck by flying debris when the eruption began. On 28 August 2019, at 10:16 local time, an explosive eruption sent a pyroclastic flow down the volcano’s northern flank and into the sea, where it continued for several hundred meters before collapsing. The resulting ash column reached a height of 2,000 m