Mount Etna

Mount Etna on the Sicily Island is the most important active volcano on the European mainland (although of course it’s on an island). (I explained the reason to the high volcanic activity in the region in my previous post about the Aeolian Islands.) Etna has some four or five main craters and a number of smaller ones. The slopes are covered with lava, some from very recent eruptions (also earlier this year). In more recent history the most known destructive eruptions took place during the 17th century when large parts of the city of Catania were destroyed; however obviously causing few casualties (the lava flows rather slowly). It’s however surprising to see the number of cities and villages on the flanks (the red spots on the map below), considering also the number of – mostly modest – earthquakes.

From the road on the way to the top you can see  some buildings which have been covered by lava.

From a parking place on the level of about 1 900 m (6 300 ft) you can use cable cars and then special terrain vehicles to reach the top…. and you can of course walk. The altitude of the mountain varies slightly according to new craters and eruptions but it’s approximately 3300 m (11000 ft.). It’s quite cold up here and there were still some traces of snow from last winter. (In winter it’s a popular place for skiing.)

There were of course clouds around, but walking down part of the slopes, we suddenly saw this old crater in some light – see also top picture.

Nature takes its right, vegetation starts slowly… (I wonder what this lady-bird found to eat) and finally the earth becomes very fertile. There were some foxes along the road.  


Ola said...

I would love to see it!

Alain said...

Je connaissais l'expression "danser sur un volcan"...mais je ne savais pas qu'on pouvait également skier.

Studio at the Farm said...

Wonderful photos, Peter. You're lucky to have had the sun pop out to get that shot of the caldera. It's beautiful ... eerie, but beautiful.

claude said...

Quand on va chez nos amis en Gadeloupe de chez eux on voit le haut de la Soufrière fumer; ça me fiche la trouille, alors là tu penses bien que j'aurais le trouillomètre à zéro.
Mais quelle belle aventure, Peter !

Jeanie said...

This is fascinating, Peter. I don't know much about the science of the volcano -- just that they're pretty destructive when they happen if one happens to live in the wrong spot. Seeing the area of such a famous spot is most interesting.