Mount Etna Case Study

Case Study providing general information about Mount Etna.

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  • Created by: Liz Hunt
  • Created on: 05-05-09 14:05
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Mount Etna
Mount Etna is located 37.7N, 15.0E on
the north east coats of the Island of Sicily,
Italy. It is 10,791 feet (3,290 m) above
Mount Europe's most active volcano.
Etna is one of the largest continental
volcanoes. The base of the volcano is about 36
by 24 miles (60 x 40 km). Below an elevation of
about 9,500 feet (2,900 m) Etna is a shield. The upper 1,200 feet (400 m) is a stratovolcano
made of several coalesced vents. It erupted in a Strombolian style in July 2001. Five fissures
cracked open on the mountain.
The main eruption started on 12th July 2001.
The generally accepted explanation for the formation of Mt. Etna is the subduction of part of
the northward-moving African Plate beneath the Eurasian Plate.
The lava flows reached temperatures of 1,000 degrees Celsius.
Lava flows swallowed up a huge cabin that housed snow ploughs, along with a tourist car park
and several ski lift pylons. It took the lava two weeks, to reach the tourist centre of Rifugio
The earthen dams of earth and volcanic rock put up to protect the tourist base, Rifugio
Sapienza, diverted the flow and keeping it under control. The Army heavy earth-moving
equipment was brought in by the Government to block and divert lava flows.
On the 29th July the airport of Sicily's second city, Catania, was forced to close while the
runways are cleared of ash spewing from the erupting Mount Etna volcano.
Local residents in Nicolosi, a village perched on the side of the volcano, have been holding
religious ceremonies in an attempt to reduce the impact of the eruption.
It is predicted that the winter tourist industry will be affected by the eruption of Etna. Locals
believe snow will not settle on the flanks of the volcano due to the heat of the lava.
Although none of the towns on Etna's slopes have been damaged, there have been losses in
agriculture and tourism. The Italian Government pledged tax breaks for villagers to help get
through the crisis and more than $8m (£5.6m) in immediate financial assistance.

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