Mount Etna Case Study

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  • Created on: 11-03-15 18:15
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Mt Etna, Sicily (MEDC)
Mount Etna is the highest ( 3,310m ) and the most
active volcano in Europe
It is estimated that nearly 25% of Sicily's population
live on the slopes of Mt Etna
Mt Etna has been classified as a Decade Volcano ,
due to its activity and nearby population
There have been at least 60 flank eruptions and
many summit eruptions since the 1600s
Since 2001 Mt Etna has seen an eruption every year
Mt Etna is located on a destructive plate margin and its volcanism stems from the
subduction of the African plate beneath the Eurasian plate
The deformation of the plates associated with subduction allows magma to rise to the
surface through weaknesses of the crust
The nature of the volcanic hazard
Mt Etna has a wide range of eruptions from relatively minor to majorly explosive
Mt Etna is a composite stratovolcano
It usually erupts basalticlava
, which has a low viscosity and so is able to travel significant
Aside from the main vent, fissures open up releasing lava flow from a variety of locations
and ` hornitos ' (small parasitic cones) splatter lava from the side of the cone
Other potential hazards
Seismic activity connecting with eruptive activity: potentially serious damage caused to
buildings and public infrastructure around the volcano
Gas plume emission, volcanic dust and ashfalls: high magnitude explosive events at
summit craters can lead to the formation of eruptive columns of ash, the fallout from
which presents significant problems to settlements and agriculture, and also risks for road
and air traffic
Flank collapse before or following: one of the most
hazardous processes that can occur at a volcano is a collapse
of one of its flanks, leading to a huge avalanche of volcanic
Phreatic eruptions: These are stream-driven explosions that
occur when water beneath the ground or on the surface is
heated by magma or lava, generating an explosion of steam,
water, ash blocks and lava bombs
The impact of the event
It is estimated that 77 confirmed deaths can be attributed to eruptions on Mount Etna,
and in recent years there have been few fatalities
The eruption of 2002 completely destroyed the tourist station at Piano Provenzana and
part of the tourist station around the Rifugio Sapienza

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On 29th July 2002, the airport of Sicily's second city, Catania, was forced to close while the
runways were cleared of ash. This then caused the winter tourist industry to be affected as
visitors stayed away due to safety concerns
The eruption caused clouds of gas and ash to be expelled from vents in the volcano which
lead to the airport in Catania being closed for 4 days because of the effect of ash on
engines.…read more

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