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Etna and Stromboli volcanoes

8th July, 2024 Geography

Etna and Stromboli volcanoes

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Context: Italy's Etna and Stromboli volcanoes erupt, Catania Airport closed.



  • Italy is a volcanically active country, containing the only active volcanoes in mainland Europe.

Causes of Volcanism in Italy

  • Italy is located on the boundary between the African and Eurasian tectonic plates, with the African plate diving down beneath the Eurasian plate, ongoing collision,  just to the east of Italy creating seismic and volcanic tension.
  • This collison is the reason behind the formation of The Apennine range, or Apennines Mountains.

Volcanic Activity

  • Italy’s major volcanoes such as Etna, Stromboli and Vesuvius lie close to this fault.

Active volcanoes

  • An active volcano is a volcano that has erupted during the Holocene (the current geologic epoch that began approximately 11,700 years ago), is currently erupting, or has the potential to erupt in the future.

Active volcanos of Italy

Four of Italy's volcanoes have erupted in the last one-hundred and fifty years

  • Mount Etna, on Sicily (continuous activity). It is the highest volcano in Europe west of the Caucasus.It last erupted recently on 6th July 2024.
  • Stromboli, one of the Aeolian Islands (continuous activity) also erupted on 6th July 2024.
  • Mount Vesuvius, near Naples (last erupted in 1944); the only volcano to have recently erupted in Continental Europe.
  • Vulcano, another of the Aeolian Islands, last erupted in 1888–1890.

Mount Etna

  • The eruptive history of the volcano can be traced back 500,000 years.
  • Is an active stratovolcano, also known as composite volcanoes, on the east coast of Sicily, Italy.
  • Mount Etna is associated with the subduction of the African plate under the Eurasian plate, which also produced Vesuvius and Campi Flegrei, but is part of a different volcanic arc.

Etna and Stromboli volcanoes


Stratovolcanoes, also known as composite volcanoes, are a type of volcano that make up about 60% of the Earth's volcanoes. Stratovolcanoes are tall, steep, and cone-shaped volcanoes. Characterized by eruptions of andesite and dacite lavas, which are cooler and more viscous than basalt.

  • In recent centuries Mount Etna’s lava has been mostly basaltic.
  • It is located above the convergent plate margin between the African Plate and the Eurasian Plate.
  • It is one of the tallest active volcanoes in Europe.
  • Mount Etna and its surrounding area have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2013, recognizing its geological significance

Mount Stromboli

  • Stromboli is an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the north coast of Sicily, containing Mount Stromboli.
  • Stromboli is one of the most active volcanoes on Earth and has been erupting almost continuously since 1932.
  • The island of Stromboli was built by a series of eruptions of potassium-rich basalt and basaltic andesite lavas.
  • Its eruptions are visible for long distances at night, it is known as the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean".
  • Its base begins below the surface of the Tyrrhenian Sea and it rises to an elevation of 924 meters above sea level.

Do you Know?

Stromboli  eruptions are so distinctive and well known, geologists use the word "Strombolian" to clearly describe similar eruptive activity at other volcanoes.

Both Mount Etna and Stromboli are part of the Calabrian volcanic arc.

Do You know?

Ash clouds from the explosive eruptions are especially hazardous to aircraft, since ash that is pulled into a jet engine can melt, coat moving parts with a layer of glass, and cause the engine to shut down.


Wikipedia, Geology.com, Reuters


Q.which of the following  active volcanic mountain is called “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean" ?

A.      Mount Stromboli

B.      Mount Etna

C.      Mount Vecuvious

D.      Mount Rainier

Answer A