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Mt. Etna seen from Air

Mt. Etna as you see it during the descent to Catania, the largest airport of Sicily. The photo has been taken in the evening of October 1, 1988.

Mount Etna (also known as Mongibeddu in Sicilian and Mongibello in Italian) is an active volcano on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania. It is the largest active volcano in Europe, currently standing about 3,350 m high, though it should be noted that this varies with summit eruptions; the mountain is 21.6 m lower now than it was in 1865. It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps. Etna covers an area of 1190 kmē with a basal circumference of 140 km. This makes it by far the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy, being nearly three times the height of the next largest, Mount Vesuvius.

It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of eruption. Although it can occasionally be very destructive, it is not generally regarded as being particularly dangerous, and thousands of people live on its slopes and in the surrounding areas. The fertile volcanic soils support extensive 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.

Reference: Text: derived from Wikipedia. Photo: Hans Lohninger

Last Update: 2010-12-04