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Mt Etna – Europe’s Most Active Volcano

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Mt Etna – Europe’s Most Active Volcano

Mt Etna is on the Italian island of Sicily (in the Mediterranean Sea). It is the biggest volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. (It has erupted 44 times in the last 100 years). It lies on the Destructive Plate Boundary between the African Plate and the Eurasian Plate.

Late in 1991 people living near Mt Etna began to worry. There were many small earthquakes and a rumbling noise deep inside the mountain.

Clouds of steam and gas were rising from the crater. Mt Etna was preparing itself for another eruption!

Sometimes the eruptions are small and cause little damage. At other times whole villages have been destroyed and large areas of farmland laid to waste by lava flows and ash fall.
Despite the danger, over 1 million people live on the slopes of Mt Etna. This is because the very rich soils and good weather there make it an ideal place for farming. The volcano also attracts large numbers of tourists. The tourist industry provides many jobs for local people.
1991-2 Eruption Facts:
Erupted over 6 months. A lava flow. Threatened the village of Zafferana. Scientists warned people to evacuate.
A ditch and a dam were made to divert the lava flow. Helicopters dropped concrete blocks in the way of the lava and explosives were planted. Some of the lava was diverted, but not all…

…luckily for Zafferana, the lava stopped flowing inches from the ancient village walls!


o one was hurt, but the lava covered many vineyards and orange groves – destroying many farmers’ livelihoods.

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