History of a volcano
A brief description of Mount Etna
Mount Etna is a venue of incomparable beauty and it is the most well-known active volcano in Europe.
It reaches the height of almost 3,300 meters and it dominates the Mediterranean Sea.
Etna is a melting-pot of various natural elements: volcanic, geographic, climatic, biological and also anthropic.
Mount Etna is made-up of an eruptive system which is visible along the Riviera dei Ciclopi (Cyclops) from Acitrezza to Acicastello where it is still possible to admire the characteristic structures of “cushion” lava flows.
Mount Etna has a long history: the volcano consists of ancient buildings made of lava rock. The oldest, called sub-etneo, dates back to the Pleystocenic Period, 500,000/400,000 years ago. More recently, primaeval Mt. Etna, is made-up of a “calanna-trifoil” system, where now, the eruptive centres have eroded or have sunk into the immense Valle del Bove.
The real Mt. Etna has recently been called “the Mongibello system”, formed by the Central Crater (with its two chasm, the central and the western) and the two subterminal craters on the North-West, formed in 1911, and the South-Eastern crater formed in 1978.
The activity of the Mongibello, gas and ash emission, in a period of apparent calm and tranquility, is defined moderate and persistent activity.
Mount Etna’s system is very complex and in continual evolution. Destructive periods (collapses, landslides, and subsidence) alternate with constructive periods (explosive, pyroclastic activity and emission of lava).
The distribution of vegetation on Mt. Etna is very important: the farm on the coast and on the plains consist of citrus and olive groves and grape vineyards; then, at about 1,000 meters appear chestnut, oak and pine forests.
The birch trees grow up to levels of 2,000 meters of altitude. Above this altitude the vegetation becomes shrubby, so the astragalus, an endemic thorny bush, dominates the landscape.
At 2,000 and 3,000 meters of altitude, the astragalus gives way to the antemide and Senecio plants. Over 3,000 meters you will find the typical volcanic desert that dominates, uncontested, the volcano Etna.
In reference to the fauna, it is said that in the past there were the wolves, wild boar, roe deer and fallow deer but they are desappeared because of the hunting and the civilization of some part of the territory.
Nowadays it is possible to see the porcupine, the fox, the wild cat, the marten, the rabbit, the hare and, among the smallest animals, the weasel, the hedgehog, the dormouse, the dormouse and various species of mouse, bat and snake.
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