Natural Hazards - Volcanoes

 

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USGS Worldwide Tectonic Plates Map

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Earthquake epicenters 1963-1998 Map

earthquake epicenters 1963-1998

Decade Volcanoes

Sixteen volcanoes (Decade Volcanoes) identified by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (IAVCEI) as being worthy of particular study in light of their history of large, destructive eruptions and proximity to populated areas.

Sicily's Mount Etna, and Naples' Mount Vesuvius, are Decade Volcanoes.

 advice > safety > Natural Hazards - Earthquakes Italy
 

Italy Seismic Activity

The country is situated at the meeting point of the Eurasian Plate and the African Plate, leading to considerable seismic and volcanic activity.

Several major earthquake fault lines cross Italy. Principal Italian cities, with the exception of Naples, do not lie near these faults; however, smaller tourist towns, such as Assisi, do lie near faults, and have experienced earthquakes. An earthquake severely damaged the town of L’Aquila in 2009.

italy volcano map

There are 14 volcanoes in Italy, three of which are active: Etna, Stromboli and Vesuvius. Vesuvius is the only active volcano in mainland Europe and is most famous for the destruction of Pompeii and Herculanum. Several islands and hills have been created by volcanic activity, and there is still a large active caldera, the Campi Flegrei north-west of Naples.

Mt. Etna, on the eastern tip of the island of Sicily, has been erupting intermittently since 2000. Mt. Vesuvius, located near Naples, is currently capped and not active. Activity at Mt. Vesuvius is monitored by an active seismic network and sensor system, and no recent seismic activity has been recorded. Two of Italy's smaller islands, Stromboli and Vulcano, in the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily, also have active volcanoes with lava flows.

Mt. Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius (Italian: Monte Vesuvio) is a stratovolcano in the Gulf of Naples, Italy, about 5.6 miles east of Naples and a short distance from the shore. It is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the last hundred years. Mount Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in AD 79 that led to the burying and destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. They were never rebuilt, although surviving townspeople and probably looters did undertake extensive salvage work after the destructions. The towns' locations were eventually forgotten until their accidental rediscovery in the 18th century. The volcano is closely monitored by the Osservatorio Vesuvio in Naples. Currently no magma has been detected within 6.2 miles of the surface, and so the volcano is classified by the Observatory as at a Basic or Green Level.

The area around Vesuvius was officially declared a national park on 5 June 1995. The summit of Vesuvius is open to visitors and there is a small network of paths around the mountain that are maintained by the park authorities on weekends. There is access by road to within 660 ft. of the summit (measured vertically), but thereafter access is on foot only. There is a spiral walkway around the mountain from the road to the crater.

Mt. Etna

Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania. It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps. Etna covers an area of 459 sq. miles with a basal circumference of 87 miles. This makes it by far the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy, being about two and a half times the height of the next largest, Mount Vesuvius. 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 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.

Sources: USGS - Wikipedia - US Library of Congress

 

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