The Surface Of Etna Is Rich With Minerals

Fred on one of the Silvestri Craters of Mount Etna…

The Silvestri Craters are extinct. Etna’s active calderas that are much further up the 11,000 foot summit continue to spew lava, ash, and gas throughout the year. Etna, on Sicily’s east coast, is Europe’s largest and most active volcano and one of the most active in the world. Because of the nature of the kind of volcano she is, her consistent eruptions are mostly predictable and visiting these craters at 6200 feet above sea level is safe.

Geochemists study the lava and ash that you see here to learn why Etna behaves like she does. That red surface is rich with magnesium, iron, and potassium. When you visit Etna with a local guide, you learn how she formed under the sea about 500,000 years ago and that water still plays an important part in why she behaves the way she does. That hydrothermal origin is vital to understanding Etna and the minerals that make up the ash on which Fred is walking.

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