Etna  Location: 37.734° N, 15.004° E  Elevation: 3.350 m   Mount Etna, towering above Catania,  Sicily's second largest city, has one of the  world's longest documented records of  historical volcanism, dating back to 1500  BC. Historical lava flows of basaltic  composition cover much of the surface of  this massive volcano, whose edifice is the  highest and most voluminous in Italy. The  Mongibello stratovolcano, truncated by  several small calderas, was constructed  during the late Pleistocene and Holocene  over an older shield volcano. The most  prominent morphological feature of Etna is  the Valle del Bove, a 5 x 10 km horseshoe-  shaped caldera open to the east. Two styles of eruptive activity typically occur at Etna.  Persistent explosive eruptions, sometimes with minor lava emissions, take place from one or  more of the three prominent summit craters, the Central Crater, NE Crater, and SE Crater (the  latter formed in 1978). Flank vents, typically with higher effusion rates, are less frequently active  and originate from fissures that open progressively downward from near the summit (usually  accompanied by strombolian eruptions at the upper end). Cinder cones are commonly  constructed over the vents of lower-flank lava flows. Lava flows extend to the foot of the volcano  on all sides and have reached the sea over a broad area on the SE flank. (Global Volcanism  Program)  Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar HOME Taormina, May 2000