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Monday, 24 January 2011
Volcano of the Week #10- Mount Etna
Etna is Europe's most active volcano and the second largest after Teide in Tenerife. This Sicilian stratovolcano is 3,328m high and is almost constantly active, eruptions tend to have a VEI of 1 or 2. It is a decade volcano and despite today's gentle eruption it has reeked havoc in the past, a Plinian eruption was thought to have occurred in 122BC which caused roof collapses in Catania (Sicily's second city). Etna's most violent eruption killed around 15,000 in Catania on 11th Marck 1669, the only violent eruption since then was in 1928, the village of Mascali was completely destroyed and only a church was left standing. Further tragedy followed this event as Mussolini used rebuilding the village as an exercise in fascist propaganda and the newly built church had a fascist symbol placed above Jesus Christ. Although recent eruptions have not caused much damage to the island they have destroyed the Etna Observatory and other towns have narrowly missed volcanic destruction, the 2001 eruption was particularly violent. The most recent eruption occurred earlier this year on 13th January causing airport closure but no damage to inhabited areas. Etna's summit has four craters, numerous cinder cones and fissure vents around which yellow sulphur crusts can be seen. The soils at the base of Etna are extremely fertile and home to orchards and vineyards.
Etna's four craters
Etna's Strombolian eruption in February 1998
Both from Bernhard Edmaier's 'Earth on Fire'
In addition to magma Etna is also home to Typhon, the monster of all monsters in Greek mythology. He has a human upper half which reaches the stars, his hands contain a hundred dragons head, the lower half of his body is made from viper coils and his whole body is covered in wings. Along with Hades, Gaia and Demeter he is a chthonic (underworld) figure. One day Typhon went a bit mental and had a fight with Zeus which caused earthquakes and tsunamis, finally Zeus laced Etna on top of Typhon and trapped him there. Typhon is therefore the cause of all volcanic eruptions.
In non volcanic news Happy Birthday to my mummy, Vic Reeves and Nastassja Kinski.
Volcano Club is all about volcanoes, this blog accompanies the zine which is produced on occassion. The earliest complete surviving issue is from 1995, but archives reveal the origins of this great publication are even earlier. We are always looking for ideas because we're lazy and uninspired so if you have anything then please get in touch.