Three days of fieldwork have passed since my last post, and what a mixed few days it has been. Sunday morning we got up to our previous measurement location on the flanks and the photo on the right was our view...not ideal measurement conditions for measuring a plume...especially if you can't see it! When faced with conditions like this in the field there are two options; either stick it out and see if conditions clear up or give up and clamber back down the mountain. This is the inspiration for my mildly creative blog title, it being the third post in my fieldwork series, as so far everything has gone well. That being said, we waited for three hours in the cold, wet and windy conditions till eventually the clouds cleared and we had a perfect(ish) view of the summit. Patience paid off!
Fieldwork on Monday brought back memories from a field-trip to Etna I took during my Masters course at Lancaster University. We needed a new spot to measure from because of a different plume direction. When remote sensing a volcanic plume it is best if the plume isn't grounding, which unfortunately it has been doing a lot of recently. We decided to try a new spot on the edge of the Valle del Bove, a quite familiar 3 km walk undertaken during the Masters field trip which ends in a stunning view of one of the most impressive features on Etna (see images below). It also happened to have a decent view of the degassing craters with the plume appearing to drift towards Rifugio Sapienza.
Apparently we missed a few ashy explosions on the Saturday from the New South East Crater, never mind, because we saw a couple during fieldwork on Tuesday, but they were quite minor (see image on the right). The arrival of colleagues from Palermo, with a 4 by 4 panda suitable of travelling to Pizzi Deneri provided an ideal location for remote sensing, and significantly less mileage by foot!
One more day of work tomorrow, before the trip back to Palermo in our own faithful Fiat Panda.