Mount Etna

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • The recent eruptions at Mount Etna have led to flight cancellations at nearby airports.
  • Mount Etna is Europe’s most active volcano and one of the largest in the world.
  • Recorded volcanic activity at Mount Etna dates back to 1500 B.C., and it has erupted more than 200 times.

About Volcano

  • Volcanoes are openings or vents where lava, tephra (small rocks), and steam erupt onto the Earth’s surface.
  • They can be on land or in the ocean and usually form mountains from layers of rock, ash, or other materials.
  • Volcanoes can be classified as active, dormant, or extinct.
  • Active: Recently erupted or expected to erupt soon.
  • Dormant: No recent eruptions but might erupt in the future.
  • Extinct: Unlikely to erupt again.


Types of Volcanoes

  • Four main types of volcanoes: Cinder cones; Composite or stratovolcanoes; Shield volcanoes; and Lava domes.
  • The type depends on the lava flow characteristics and their impact on the volcano and its surroundings.


How Volcanoes Erupt

  • Eruption characteristics depend on magma composition (silica content) and gas content.
  • High silica magma is thick and leads to explosive eruptions.
  • Low silica magma is thin and results in less explosive eruptions.
  • Bubbles form in magma with lots of gas, making eruptions more explosive.
  • Erupted magma is called


Effects of Volcanism

  • On the Environment: Creation of volcanic landforms, impact on climate and weather patterns, habitat destruction, introduction of new species, and formation of new ecosystems.
  • Health Threats: Suffocation, respiratory diseases, burns, skin irritations, food and water contamination, and disruption of basic services.
  • Scientists can predict volcanic eruptions hours or days in advance using seismographic data from earthquakes and tremors as precursors.


Volcanoes in the Pacific Ring of Fire

·       Many active volcanoes are located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, including New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Japan, and the western Americas.

·       About 90% of worldwide earthquakes occur in this region.

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