Mount Etna

Topics: Volcano, Lava, Sicily Pages: 4 (1208 words) Published: December 17, 2007
Mount Etna
Sicily's greatest natural attraction is also its highest mountain. To the ancient Greeks, Mount Etna was the realm of Vulcan, god of fire, and the home of the one-eyed monster known as the Cyclops. At approximately 3350 meters, it is Europe's highest active volcano. The height of its summit changes with each eruption, and over the centuries a few lava flows have reached the coast. Over 1200 square meters of Etna's surface is covered with solidified lava. Etna offers skiing in the Winter months and breathtaking hikes in the woods during the Summer. There are also a number of smaller peaks on the slopes of Etna, and some interesting caverns. Since Etna is a strato volcano, with relatively cool lava temperatures and numerous openings (vents), nobody ever knows precisely where on its vast surface the next eruption will be. Etna's long recorded history has proven invaluable to the world's volcanologists. Mount Etna is said to erupt in a Strombolian style in which the mountain erupts like a fountain from a single vent or crater. Mount Etna is located on the east coast of the Island of Sicily and it lies north of Catania, which is Sicily's second largest city. It is considered to be a complex volcano, because it is a mixture of a shield, stratovolcano and a caldera volcano. "A volcano composed of steep, alternating layers of lava and pyroclastic materials, including ash, is called a stratovolcano. Stratovolcanos are associated with relatively viscous lava and with explosive eruptions. They are the most common form of large continental volcanos."(American Heritage Dictionary) "A caldera is a large, usually circular depression at the summit of a volcano formed when magma is withdrawn or erupted from a shallow underground magma reservoir. The removal of large volumes of magma may result in loss of structural support for the overlying rock, thereby leading to collapse of the ground and formation of a large depression."(NOVA) Volcanic activity at Etna...
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