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Mount Etna Volcano: Environmental Impact and Problems of Volcanic Prediction

A. M. Duncan, D. K. Chester and J. E. Guest
The Geographical Journal
Vol. 147, No. 2 (Jul., 1981), pp. 164-178
Published by: geographicalj
DOI: 10.2307/634532
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/634532
Page Count: 15
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Mount Etna Volcano: Environmental Impact and Problems of Volcanic Prediction
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Abstract

Mount Etna, the largest continental volcano in the world, has a substantial environmental impact on the local area. Indeed, the Etna region is one of the most prosperous and densely populated parts of Sicily. This derives in large measure from the ample water supply from the porous lavas and the fertile volcanic soils. Nowhere on the slopes of the volcano, however, is free from the risk of damage by eruptive activity. The volcanic hazard, which on Mt Etna is mainly from lava flows, can be considered in two parts, firstly risk to settlements and secondly, potential damage to agricultural land. There is a fairly complete record of the location and nature of the eruptions of Mt Etna over the last 400 years. If it is assumed that the activity in the near future will follow the same pattern as that of the recent past, it is possible to construct a general predictive model of the volcanic eruptions of Mt Etna. The problems and limitations encountered in trying to develop such a predictive model are considered in this account.

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