Etna, the highest active Volcano in Europe!
photo: Lidia Rizzo
Mount Etna is a huge volcanic cone surrounded to the east by Ionio sea to the south by the Plain of Catania, to the west and to the north by Nebrodi Mountains. The volcanic structure rises about 3.330 m above sea level, it has a basic diameter of about 45 Km, a perimeter of more than 160 Km and its lava, in more than 600.000 years, has covered up a surface of about 1250 square Km.
Currently, on the summit area, four different craters are opened with persistent activity, due to the continuous emission of gas, steam and ashes, which sometimes becomes an activity of Strombolian type with intermittent throwing of shreds of magma at considerable height. The central crater, known as the "Gulf", is the biggest among the four, with a diameter of more than 500 m. Last century the geographical layout of the summit area has deeply changed with the formation of three other craters. In 1911 the north-eastern crater originated from a small subsidence on the north-eastern side of the central crater, at an altitude of 3100 m. In 1968 a third crater developed, named "New Mouth" or "North Western Mouth", whereas the last to be born was the south-eastern crater, originated in 1971 from a small subsidence on the south-eastern side of central crater. Etna today is the largest active volcano in Europe.