Mt Etna - Hazards Key idea 4


Facts about italy

Population of Italy - 62 million

polulation of Sicily- 5.03 million (2017)

structure of econimy : Agriculture: 3.9%

                                   Industry- 28.8%

                                  Services - 67.8%

GDP- $38,200 (2018) HDI- 0.88 (VERY HIGH)

EXPORTS- fish, vegetables , grapes

machinery, iron chemicals , food processing


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Facts about MT Etna

location: Mt Etna is in Europe 

  •                 located in italy on the island of Sicily
  •            Volcano is on the NE of the island and is north of Catania Tectonic Details: Plate Tectonics - Mount Etna Project - Maddison van Wyk, Grade 7 ...
  • Convergent plate boundary created by subduction of African plate beneath Eurasian plate
  • Allows magma to rise to the surface through weaknesses in the crust
  • Composite stratovolcano - made up of layers of ash + lava 3310m high VEI 2-4
  • highly active volcano - decade volcano according to UN with yearly eruptions since 2001
  • Etna has number of small calderas - previous cones have collapsed + 3 main summit craters
  • eruptions - effusive (create gentle lava flows) + occasionally strombolian (explosive eruptions of tephra from the summit + short lava flows)
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Why people live on Sicily

Years of volcanic eruptions = layers of fertile soil - helps grow citrus fruit, grapes and veggies

Tourism is an important soucre of wealth for the island thanks to its natural + historical heritage

nearly 25% of Sicily's population live on its slopes.

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Social impacts of Mt Etna 2001 eruption

No one died

1 injured

70 familes evacuated from Nicolosi.  

Catania and surrounding towns- ash entered every where + created a black film on everything in homes

Hot weather = people opened windows to get fresh air - larger quantities of ash 

Cleaning efforts cost $0.8 million 

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Economic Impacts of 2001 Mt Etna Eruption

Air traffic disruption-

  • most widespread effect of eruption - caused by frequent heavy ash rains over densley urbanised areas
  • Fontanarossa International airport of Catania closed repeatedly for entire days - presence of ash
  • caused major chaos in tourist flights during high season in Sicily

Tourist infrastructure- 

  • Tourist area in the south flank suffered- destruction to its cable car - biggest source of income + major tourist destination
  • Several poles of the tourist station destroyed by lava + many ski lifts destroyed
  • Lava flows interrupted a large portion of the Rifugio Sapienza area with the summit area hut of mountain guides buried but not crushed


  • 2 lava flows moved across provincial road 92 - closed a communication routeway
  • Loss of tourist businesses- cancelled flights led to fall in income
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Environmental and political impacts of the 2001 Mt

Environmental -

Crops + land covered in ash and lava flows would reduce the biodiversity 

Ash and gases in the air creates acid rain - travel with the prevailing winds

Greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere


Inside Italy (news media ) avidly concentrated on a public conflict between the director of civil protection agency and the President of the INGV

Had contrasting opinions about the risk of the eruption  

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Mitigation against the event 2001 Mt Etna eruption

Number of strategies used to halt + slow down lava flows

  • Dams of volcanic rock and soil built to divert lava and protect buildings
  • in other eruptions concrete blocks have been dropped and bombs have been dropped on features to collapse sources of lava
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Mitigation against the loss - 2001 Mt Etna erupti


  • Evacuation plans are well known so people leave vulnerable areas when they see risk
  • compensation+ tax breaks given to residenrts who lose livestock, crops + business facilities
  • Italian govt can affort to rebuild roads + other infrastructure damaged by eruption
  • Govt pledged $8million in immediate assistance after the eruption
  • Construction of protective barriers = $400K per day
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Mitigation against the vulnerability - 2001 Mt Etn


  • Constant monitoring using seismometers and tilt meters
  • Long term analysis of the volcano in order to build up accurate information
  • Well-established warning system with alert levels which are understood by all- govt, emergency services and local residents
  • research into effective building design to resist ash falls- building slope roofs to shred ash fall
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