Mt. Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe.  It has been erupting for half a million years.  The first eruption took place in 1500 B.C.  Mt. Etna is currently erupting.  Dormant periods on Mount Etna are very rare.

Click on the words active and dormant to find out how these words differ.

2. Click on the globe to find out where in Europe Mt. Etna is located.



Geologists consider Mount Etna to be a strato volcano.   A volcano is a mountain that opens downward to a pool of molten rock below the surface of the earth. When pressure builds up, eruptions occur. Gases and rock shoot up through the opening and spill over or fill the air with lava fragments. Eruptions can cause lava flows, hot ash flows, mudslides, avalanches, falling ash and floods. Volcanic eruptions have been known to knock down entire forests.  These kinds of eruptions are called pyroclastic flows.


3. Click on strato volcano. What is a strato volcano and what is another name for a strato volcano?


4. Click on pyroclastic flow.  How fast can a pyroclastic flow travel and what type of material is associated with a pyroclastic flow?


5. Click on the picture above to view actual pictures of Mt. Etna erupting.


When you get to the site, click on the third picture.  According to the caption, what causes a volcanic explosion to be so violent?




Mt. Etna is a constant threat to the people who live on the island of Sicily.  Over the years these people have suffered great consequences.  Mt. Etna has also provided many advantages for the people of Sicily.  Many people feel the benefits outweigh the danger and build their homes on the lower slopes of the volcano.


Click on the two links above.

6. List three consequences to living near Mt. Etna.

7. List three benefits to living near Mt. Etna.


A vulcanologist is a person who studies volcanoes.  These scientists have been trying to predict volcanoes for many years.  With new technology and by studying records of past eruptions, scientists are becoming more skilled in identifying the warning signs of a volcanic eruption.  Within several years, scientists hope to be able to pinpoint the exact time a volcano      will erupt.    


8. Name three warning signs of an impending volcanic eruption.






Click on the picture above.


9. What is a seismograph?


10.      What is a seismoscope?


11.      What was its purpose?


12. Who invented the seismoscope and in what year?