Mount etna an Active Volcano
In this quick top 10 facts about Mount Etna, I'm going to share with you some easy-to-understand pieces of information about Mount Etna geology. I will help you to understand what to do at mount etna and answer the most common questions usually posed by anybody who begins to have an interest in this Italian fascinating active Volcano.
1 Mount Etna active volcano
Etna is a stratovolcano, located in the southern Italian region of Sicily. With the Kilauea and another bunch of other mountains, Mt. Etna is the one of most active volcanoes on the planet. In 2002 a massive eruption wiped out the ski lift, two hotels, and a series of shops at an altitude of 1900 mt above sea level. The last recorded eruption took place in December 2021. A lateral vent opened the 13 of December at an altitude of 2800 mt. The eruption lasted just 48 hours.
2 Mount Etna eruption 1669.
Mount Etna, hardly poses a threat to villages and cities, but in 1669, an eruption that lasted for 112 days emitted 600 million m3 of lava, developing a record 17 km long stream of lava destroyed the city of Catania. This eruption formed one of the largest lava fields ever. During this eruption, a human's first attempt to divert the course of a lava stream was recorded. If you want to know more about the eruption of 1669, we have a detailed article.
3 The excursions on Mount Etna.
Even though Etna is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet, there are daily excursions to the summit, from May to November. The Volcano's flanks and the lush forest can be explored with mountain bike tours, horse riding, and quad adventures. September and October are two ideal months to discover the slopes of this Sicilian beauty. Remember, to reach the summit you must hire a guide, authorities do not tolerate self-guided tours heading to the active craters. We suggest using Sicily Active a Tour Operator from Taormina.
4 Mount Etna Geology
Etna was born about 600,000 years ago. At that time, the area was a large gulf; under the sea's surface, a lively volcanic activity gave birth to the first eruptions. Over thousands of years of activity, the Volcano has grown in size, thanks to millions of tons of eruptive products that have gradually accumulated. Its perimeter is now 135 kilometres long!
5 Mount Etna Summit
The highest tip of Etna is about 3,340 m above sea level. This altitude undergoes variations due to material accumulation due to explosions and eruptions and the frequent collapse. The summit apparatus currently consists of the Four Craters; the North-eastern Crater formed in 1911 The Chasm, 1945 The new Mouth 1968 and the South-East Crater, born with the 1971 eruption.
6 The lava tubes and the ice production!
Inside the Etna Park territory, we find over 200 caves created by lava flows. Nowadays, both locals and tourists visit these lava caves through organized tours. Humans have used for various reasons these natural shelters for thousands of years. During the aerial bombardments of 1943 by the Anglo-American army, the Mount Etna caves were used as "anti-aircraft" shelters. Around the 18th century, some of Mt. Etna's caves were used as natural freezers to produce large ice quantities. The Etna ice trade flourished to the point that this expensive consumer good was shipped as far as Malta and Naples. The ice industry created hundreds of jobs during the snow harvesting season and then during the ice processing. The "Snow Cave" is the most visited one; for those willing to explore this Cave the Alcantara Etna Tour departing from Taormina is the ideal one.
7 The most southern birch forest of Europe.
The volcanic nature of the area, the rainfall, and the different microclimates of the slopes affect vegetation's presence on Etna. Starting from the feet, we find vineyards, hazelnut groves, oak woods, and chestnut trees. Around and just above 2,000 meters, Etna is populated by beech and birches which reach their southern limit here. Beyond these altitudes, the landscape changes progressively; gradually thin out, leaving room to the volcanic desert, devoid of plant life. On the north side, the vegetation is lush, and the birch forest deserves a visit. Mount Etna's north side houses the most beautiful forests of the Volcano.
8 Mount Etna vineyards
Mount Etna hosts ancient terraces that have been used for thousands of years to produce wine. The microclimate of this Mountain and the fertile soil characterized by a high level of Minerals give birth to some of Italy's best wines. Nowadays around the Volcano slopes, we find around 165 wineries and the wine tasting tour has become a trendy way to enjoy a full-day excursion on Mount Etna. If you wish to go for a wine tour on Mount Etna.
9 Mount Etna is a Unesco World Heritage site.
The small island of Sicily has many sites listed in the Unesco world heritage, the Temples valley, the Aeolian Islands, and the baroque district, to name a few. In June 2013 Mount Etna entered the "Club" of Unesco's sites. So this mighty Volcano does not belong just to Italians but to the whole of humanity!
10 People ski on Mt. Etna.
It is possible to enjoy some skiing on Mount Etna's flanks in winter between December and March. There is no proper resort where to sleep, on the Volcano apart from some pretty chalet. Still, the Metropolitan City of Catania or Taormina's Journey to the ski lift takes just 40 minutes. The ski runs are not big and long like the one in the north part of Italy. Still, skiing under plumes of smoke overlooking the glittering Mediterranean sea is an unforgettable experience.
11 THE LONGEST ERUPTION OF ETNA
As is often the case with explosive/effusive volcanoes with basic magmas, lava flows can go on for weeks, months, years, and sometimes decades. The longest eruption of Etna lasted ten years and went on from 1614 to 1624, creating peculiar lava fields with rope lavas, also called Hawaiian typical of the Kilauea, a volcano of the Hawai Islands. "Monte dei Morti" on the north side of Etna is the result of an accumulation of rope lava.