Sunday, 28 July 2013
Mount Etna is an active volcano on the east coast of Sicily, Italy. It lies above the convergent plate margin between the African Plate and the Eurasian Plate. It is the tallest active volcano on the European continent, currently standing 10,922 ft high; however this varies with summit eruptions. It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps. Mount Etna covers an area of 459 sq mi with a basal circumference of 140 km. This makes it by far the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity. The fertile volcanic soils support wide-ranging agriculture, with vineyards and orchards spread across the lower slopes of the mountain and the broad Plain of Catania to the south. Due to its history of recent activity and nearby population, Mount Etna has been designated a Decade Volcano by the United Nations. In June 2013, it was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Immense lava flow from an eruption in 1928 led to the first destruction of a population center since the 1669 eruption. In the 1970s Mount Etna erupted smoke rings one of the first captured events of this type, which are extremely rare. This happened again in 2000.
Mount Etna is one of Sicily's foremost tourist attractions, with thousands of tourists every year. The most public route is through the road leading to Sapienza Refuge, lying at the south of the crater at elevation of 1910 m. It hosts a big parking, several bars, a hotel, and is a starting point for the cable car. From the Refuge, a cableway runs uphill to the elevation of 2500 m; from there, visitors can take a drive with special terrain vehicles, or take a long walk to the designated crater area at 2920 m. Ferrovia Circumetnea Round-Etna railway is a narrow-gauge railway constructed between 1889 and 1895. It runs around the volcano in a 110-km long semi-circle starting in Catania and ending in Riposto 28 km north of Catania. There are two ski resorts on Etna: one at the Sapienza Refuge, with a chairlift and three ski lifts, and a smaller one on the north, at Piano Provenzana, with three lifts and a chairlift.