Mount Etna

A volcanologist watches Mount Etna erupt

Mount Etna is Europe's tallest active volcano and is located in Sicily, Italy. Like many other dangerous volcanoes such as Mount St Helens and Mount Vesuvius, Etna is a composite volcano. It has been created by the Earth's active tectonic plate system – the African plate is moving below the Eurasian plate. As the Eurasian plate moves down into the Earth, it melts. Rising magma erupts at the surface as lava and ash and builds Etna in the process.

Etna has erupted many times during recorded history and is still very active.

There are towns and villages surrounding the mountain, including Catania. In the past, the Italian authorities have used explosives, concrete dams, and ditches to divert lava flows away from these settlements.

Image: A volcanologist wearing a protective suit watches Etna erupt in 2000 (credit: Jeremy Bishop)


A volcanologist watches Mount Etna erupt Mount Etna

TV clips (3)

Subjects in this collection

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.