Minimize Etna Volcano, Sicily

This SPOT-4 image, acquired on 23 September 2012, shows Mount Etna in Sicily.

Etna is the highest (approximately 3323 m) and the most active volcano in Europe. It is located on the eastern coast of the Italian Sicily island. The volcano height cannot be indicated precisely as it varies as a result of eruptions and lava emissions. Etna has four central cones of almost the same height, though the central one is a slightly higher. Etna's volcanic activity started 0.5 million years ago with the lava emissions underwater and nearshore areas. The 1669 eruption and the 1955-2003 volcanic activities had the greatest impact on the modern morphology of the volcano.

Etna is always smoking. Small eruptions accompanied with minor lava flows occur 3-4 times per year. It is this recurrent activity that allows the Sicilians to feel comfortable; minor and permanent eruptions relieve the volcano's internal pressure and prevent it from causing larger eruptions. The last series of eruptions occurred in early 2012.

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Credit: Spot Image, ScanEx RDC 2012