Volcanism in Italy

Volcanism in Italy

Italy is a volcanically active country, containing the only active volcano in mainland Europe. The country's volcanism is due chiefly to the presence, a short distance to the south, of the boundary between the Eurasian Plate and the African Plate. The magma erupted by Italy's volcanoes is thought to result from the upward forcing of rocks melted by the subduction of one plate below another.

Three main clusters of volcanism exist: a line of volcanic centres running northwest along the central part of the Italian mainland (see Campanian volcanic arc); a cluster in the northeast of Sicily; and another cluster around the Mediterranean island of Pantelleria.

Active volcanoes

Three of Italy's volcanoes have erupted in the last hundred years:

* Mount Etna, on Sicily (continuous activity)
* Stromboli, one of the Aeolian Islands (continuous activity)
* Mount Vesuvius, near Naples (last erupted in 1944); the only active volcano in mainland Europe.

Dormant volcanoes

At least nine other volcanic centres have seen eruptions in historic times, including some submarine volcanoes (seamounts). In order of most recent eruption they are:

* Pantelleria, off the coast of Tunisia, probably last erupted around 1000 BC. There was a submarine eruption a few kilometres north-east of the island in 1891, which was probably related to the main volcano.
* Vulcano, another of the Aeolian Islands, last erupted in 1888-1890.
* The short-lived Isola Ferdinandea erupted a few kilometres north-west of Pantelleria in 1831 and rose to a maximum height of 63 metres, but was eroded back down to sea level by 1835. The summit is now a few metres below the surface. A swarm of small earthquakes centred on the seamount in 2002 was thought to indicate that magma was moving beneath the volcano, but no eruption occurred.
* Vulcanello is a small volcano connected by an isthmus to the island of Vulcano, which erupted out of the sea in 183 BC and showed occasional activity thereafter until the 16th century.
* Campi Flegrei, a huge caldera containing the western area of Naples, erupted in 1538, generating the small tuff cone named Monte Nuovo (new mountain).
* Ischia, an island 20 kilometres west of Naples, last erupted in 1302.
* Larderello, in southern Tuscany, last erupted in 1282 with a small phreatic eruption
* Lipari, an island a couple of kilometres from Vulcano, has a volcano which last erupted in 729.
* Vulcini, at the northern end of the Roman magnetic province, last erupted in 104 BC.
* Roccamonfina, a volcanic complex 50 km north of Naples, probably erupted around 300 BC with a phreatic eruption.

An ambiguous eye-witness account exists which may describe an eruption in 114 BC of Monte Albano near Rome, although geological evidence does not support this claim, indicating instead that the last eruption occurred 22000 years ago.

ee also

*List of volcanoes in Italy
*Volcanism in Canada
*Volcanism in Iceland
*Volcanism in New Zealand

External links

* [http://www.ov.ingv.it/index_eng.htm Information about Vesuvius, Campi Flegrei, Ischia and Stromboli]
* [http://www.ct.ingv.it Information about Etna, Stromboli, Lipari and Vulcano]
* [http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/Italy/description_italy_volcanics.html Italy Volcanoes and Volcanics]

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