Mount Etna: History and overview
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Mount Etna is also known as Mongibello in Italian. To ancient Greeks Mount Etna is known as the god of fire. They also believe that Cyclops, who is a one eyed monster, lives there. People can go skiing on Mount Etna in winter and you can go hill walking in the summer, but you have to be careful in case it erupts when you're there. Mount Etna also has some famous caves on it which people like to go and see. There is also a lot of wildlife on Mount Etna like Frogs, Toads and even some turtles are found in some of the ponds and lakes, there are also a lot of birds and even some rare golden eagles. Mount Etna has a lot of trees so in autumn when the tree leafs change colour lots of people come to see them. Mount Etna is strato volcano so its lava isn't as hot as other types of volcanoes.
It is on the east coast of Sicily quite near Messina and Catania. Mount Etna has the most amount of eruptions in the world. It is the biggest active volcano in Europe, it is about 3326m high and it has an area of about 1190km². The volcanoes height changes every eruption and some of the eruptions have reached the cities near the coast. The mountain is about 21m smaller now than 1865 because of the weather eroding it away. Mount Etna is by far the biggest active volcano in Italy, being almost 3 times as big as Mount Vesuvius which is the next biggest volcano in Italy. Geologist's think it has been active for over two and a half million years.
Mount Etna is one of the most active Volcanoes in the world. It's usually a quiet Volcano not a violent one because it erupts so often. Mount Etna erupts most impressive when the vents and the top erupt. Ash storms only happen if the vents erupt. The lava from Mount Etna can sometimes get up to 1000 degrees Celsius.
Thousands of people live near and on the slopes of Mount Etna, their houses and property get ruined quite a lot. The surrounded areas of Mount Etna are good for Farms because crops and vegetables grow well on the volcanic soil.
One of the eruptions in 122BC caused so much damage to a nearby city called Catania that its residents were relieved from paying taxes to Rome for 10 years. Mount Etna has 3 vent creators on its slopes, which have lava, rocks, and gasses coming out of them.
Mount Etna erupted most violently in 1669 when the lava demolished nearby villages on the bottom of the slope. Some other violent eruptions have happened in 1971, 1983, 2001-02 making the Italian government to declare a state of an emergency. All these eruptions have been dangerous but the one in 1669 when it hit the outskirts of Catania was by far the most violent.
Mount Etna's Eruption 1669
Mount Etnas eruption in 1669 is the worst eruption so far in its history. During Mount Etna's history it has erupted quite often, so people don't usually bother when it erupts because it's not that violent, but the eruption on the 8th of March 1669 was by far the most violent. On the afternoon of the 11th of March a lot of vents from the volcano opened between two nearby cities, these vents caused a couple of very dangerous explosions and a huge amount of lava came out of them and flowed downhill. It produced about 830,000,000m³ of lava. The eruption was caused by two months of earthquakes under and on the surrounding areas of Mount Etna. This was caused by the African crust pushing under the Eurasian crust. This made Mount Etna erupt. On the 11th of March a 9km gap cracked open from Monte Frumento Supino to Monte San Leo on the south side of the mountain. The biggest vent cracked open near Nicolosi and oozed with lava and it ended up shaped like a cylinder cone and it is now a popular tourist point and is called Mount Rossi.
On the first day of the eruption a town called Nicolosi and two other villages nearby were destroyed by the dangerous pyroclastic flow which can get up to about a speed of 500mph.
The next three days the lava was flowing south and another four villages were destroyed. At the end of March another two bigger towns were destroyed and the lava reached the outskirts of Catania at the end of April.
At the beginning of the lava reaching Catania, the lava flow hit against the wall which was meant to stop the lava flow destroying Catinia. The wall was strong enough for a while but on the 30th of April the lava reached the top of the wall and poured into the city which made the wall fall down. After a while of the lava getting into the city it reached the harbour and filled it up. Some of the people that live in Catinia built walls next to all the main roads to stop the lava going onto the roads which would cause some accidents and deaths. Other people that live nearby tried to direct the lava flow away from the city but they did not do that good of job.
Effects of Mount Etnas Eruption 1669
The effects left behind from the eruption in 1669 were talked about worldwide. More than 10 villages were destroyed and a lot more were badly damaged by the lava flow. The west side of Catania was also badly damaged. The west and southwest of the city which was the richer side of the city, with lots of fruit gardens, expensive villas and a few monuments from Greek and Roman time were turned into a wasteland from the vicious lava.
Catania was now surrounded by lava in all directions apart from the sea side. The pyroclastic flow damaged the south and south west of the city, unlike the eruption in 1381 when it destroyed parts of the north side.
The pyroclastic flow doesn't always do the most damage but it kills the most people because it can travel so fast, and people can't get away from it. About 200 000 people died and about 27 000 people were also left homeless from the devastating eruption.
Most volcanoes in the world are on a constructive or destructive plate boundary. Mount Etna is on a destructive plate boundary. A destructive plate boundary is when one plate is getting pushed under another plate. Mount Etna was made by the African plate pushing under the Eurasian plate which makes a volcano form. Mount Vesuvius and Campi Flegrei are two other volcanoes which are also made by the African Plate pushing under the Eurasian plate. Most active Volcanoes are positioned near or along the edge of plate boundaries. Scientists are trying lots of different ways to find a better way of seeing under the earths crust below a volcano.
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