Located in Sicily, Mount Etna is one of the world’s most famous volcanoes. It erupts on a frequent basis and does so in a variety of different ways. This uniqueness has researchers coming to the Italian island to study it so a better understanding of how volcanoes work can be developed. It’s location near Catania also makes the volcano a perfect tourism opportunity.
1. A Constant Companion
The lava flows around the base of Mount Etna have been dated back as far as 1,500 BC. This makes the volcano the longest running active volcano in the world today. Most of the eruptions are not violent in nature, but an exception to this rule occurred in 1669 when lava flows destroyed more than a dozen Sicilian villages.
2. Large and in Charge
At almost 11,000 feet, Mount Etna is also the tallest active volcano on the European continent. The actual height of the volcano is always changing due to its consistent eruptions, however, so an exact measurement of the summit is required every few years to document its actual height. The base of the volcano also has a circumference of more than 90 miles.
3. A Sure Thing
Before 2001, Mount Etna erupted about once every 18 months. Since then, it has begun to erupt more frequently. Except for 2007, there has been at least one eruption every year. This means the stratovolcano structure not only makes for the perfect picture taking opportunities, but there is also an element of danger with a visit thanks to the sometimes explosive nature of eruptions this type of volcano can provide.
4. Amazingly Safe
Despite the danger of living near a volcano like Mount Etna, there have been relatively few casualties over the years because of its eruptions. Since records have been kept, only 77 known deaths have been directly attributed to the volcano. With the minerals the lava deposits into the soil, most Sicilians see Mount Etna as more of a blessing than anything.
5. At the Same Time
Sometimes the two primary types of eruptions that Mount Etna has occur simultaneously. This creates an incredible vista that helps to draw visitors to the island.
Mount Etna has helped us understand more about volcanoes thanks to its structure and design. As it continues to erupt, the amount of knowledge we can continue to receive will be as plentiful as the minerals the mountain’s lava gives the people of Sicily.