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Etna Volcano

Etna, crossed the 15th meridian east, is the highest active volcano on the European continent and one of the world. Its height is currently around 3,340 meters with a diameter of about 45 km, but its morphology is subject to constant change due to incessant activity. Etna was once known as Mongibello.

The regular eruptions, often dramatic, have made it a subject of great interest in classical mythology and folk beliefs. It was said that Aeolus, god of winds, he winds imprisoned in the caves of the Etna. Also according to mythology, the Cyclops will held a workshop of forging which produced the arrows used as weapons of Zeus. In the Odyssey the Cyclops blinded by Odysseus had his own cave on Mount Etna.
Sicilian folk beliefs say that when Mount Etna erupted in 252, one year after the martyrdom of Saint Agatha, the people of Catania took the red veil of the Holy and called the name of stopping the eruption. Finally, an English legend says that the soul of Elizabeth I of England lies inside Etna, due to a pact that the queen made with the devil in exchange for his help to govern the kingdom.

The volcanic activity of Etna

Etna, unlike that of Stromboli is in perpetual activity of Vesuvius and alternating periods of quiescence and periods of paroxysmal activity, appears more and surmounted by a plume of smoke. A fairly close erupts periods will generally begin with a period of degassing and emission of volcanic ash which is followed by release of magma enough fluid. Sometimes there are periods of Strombolian that attract crowds of visitors from all over the world for their spectacular. A historical memory remember hundreds of eruptions in some highly destructive.

The most recent eruption

The eruption of April 5, 1971 destroyed the Volcanological Observatory and the Etna cable car. A month later he opened a long slit that reached a height of 1800 meters Fornazzo and approached Milo.
In 1981, Etna became very menacing in just a few hours cracks opened gradually from an altitude of 2550 to 1140. The lavas issued, very fluid, and cut the railway reached Circumetnea; arm stopped just 200 meters before Randazzo. The lava front cut the road going to the banks of the river Alcantara stopped at 600 meters just before the valley.
In 1983 the Etna cable car was destroyed again, but that eruption is remembered for the first time in the world to divert the lava flow by explosives. Successful attempt.
In December 1991 began the longest eruption of the twentieth century (473 days), with the opening of an eruptive fissure at the base of the crater to the southeast, at an altitude of 3100 meters and 2400 meters in the direction of the Valle del Bove. Soon the situation was considered dangerous for the city of Zafferana and was put in place a strategy of containment: an embankment 20 feet high for two months to boost interest in the lava front.
But the technique of construction of barriers through bulldozers and excavators proved ineffective in 2001 when he found himself in danger, on the south, the Rifugio Sapienza.
To save the design helicopters were called the Navy, which diverted the flow of lava toward the Valle del Bove special thanks to the plastic explosives. Among the most recent eruptions in 2007, a fracture on the side of the crater to the southeast opened a fountain of lava 500 meters high almost: show a must for volcanologists, photographers and tourists.
Tourism and Environment

The territory of the volcano is divided into different environments morphology and typology. Cultivated up to 1000 meters on the slopes and highly urbanized east and south, is wild and unforgiving especially from the west side with predominantly skiing, especially in the area of Bronte. Partly urbanized but look more sweet with the dominance of the north woods north of Linguaglossa. The east side is dominated by the big scary Valle del Bove, surrounded by thick forests.
Above 1000 meters, in winter, the landscape is covered with snow. Etna are also two ski resorts whose particularity is to be able to ski ... sea view! South slopes in the territory of Nicolosi, you can admire the gulf of Catania and the valley while those Simeto North, Piano Provenzana territory's office, in the view extending from Taormina to the coasts of Calabria.
Around Etna, thanks to the special fertility of volcanic debris, provide excellent agricultural production, especially a very good wine.

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