«Everything great that the nature has to offer, everything pleasant, everything terrible, can be compared with visit Etna, but you cannot compare anything with Mount Etna »
(Dominique Vivand Denon, “Voyage en Sicilie”, 1788)
Etna volcano is the highest volcano in Europe and one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
Its eruptions occur both at the summit, where there are currently four craters, and on the sides, up to heights that reach a few hundred meters above the sea level.
U ‘Mongibeddu is located on the east coast of Sicily, within the territory of the province of Catania and is crossed by the 15th meridian east, from which it takes its name.
Sicilian jewel par excellence, the Etna is easily accessible from different sides.
Those who come to Taormina cannot miss the chance to learn the history of this living entity and spend the day walking through lava flows and craters thanks to the excursions to Mount Etna.
Above 1000 m, in winter, there is snow which usually lasts almost until summer.
This part is easily reachable from the south and north sides. Consequently, on the Etna there are also two ski resorts which offer the particularity of being able to ski on the snow while at the same looking down on the seaside below.
Join the Etna Snow Tour! With this tour you can ski on Mount Etna, have a glimpse on the Sicilian sea and discover the geological history of this beautiful Volcano!
Until recently, the Etna volcano has been considered predominantly effusive, which means that its activity is mainly characterized by the emission of lava flows.
They can cause damage to property but do not represent a direct threat to the lives of 900,000 people living in areas potentially at risk. However, recent studies have revealed that this volcano is also capable of producing highly explosive activities, such as the Plinian eruption of 122 BC. More recently – especially from the late 70s – it has been observed a sharp increase of eruptive explosive episodes, particularly on the summit craters.
This has in fact been the case of the summit eruptions of 1995-2001, with about 150 episodes of lava fountains (also known as paroxysms), which have generated high columns of gas and ash.
The eruptions on the sides in 2001 and 2002-2003 show that even this type of eruption can generate significant amounts of pyroclastic material (ash, lapilli, bombs and blocks).
Unlike summit paroxysms, which usually develops and ends in a few hours, the impact of pyroclastic material during eruptions can go on for several weeks/months and can cause problems and discomforts in populated areas, as well as represent a serious threat to the traffic of both land and air.
The most recent phase of eruptive activity of Etna began in January 2011, the first in a series of episodes of lava fountains (paroxysms); on April 24th, 2012 took place the 25th episode of this series.
It all started from a new crater, located on the eastern flank of the cone of the Southeast Crater: originally, this was a sinking crater depression (pit crater), that has quickly turned into a new high cone more than 200 meters because of the heavy fallout of pyroclastic material.