Vulcano

Vulcano, the most famous volcano in the world

The island of Vulcano is a perfect example of how nature can create many different shapes and colours through volcanoes and bring them together in a single island. It is one of the youngest of the Aeolian Islands. Though it is not as young as Stromboli, whose last eruption was only 10 minutes ago!

The Gran Cratere of the Fossa
The subject of the photo is the Gran Cratere de La Fossa, located in the center. In the lower foreground there is the tree-lined and semi-circular plain of the Vulcanello peninsula. It is connected from the rest of the island with a sandy isthmus, which appears in the central vertical position and to the right of the photo, with the sea touching both sides and above the houses of the port of Vulcano. The Gran Cratere de La Fossa is in the central vertical portion of the photo, under a blue sky. Almost up to the top it has small shrubs that make it green, while its circular top, being a crater, is ocher yellow. In the background you can see the southern portion of the island of Vulcano.

Volcanic activity on this island began “only” 127,000 years ago, which seems a long time, but in reality for a volcano it is only a few years. This “brief” period gave rise to the formation of several volcanic structures, which gradually overlapped each other while moving northwards.
One of the main characteristics of Vulcano is the formation, at the end of each life cycle of the volcanic structure, of a caldera collapse .
Volcanic activity above sea level began in the southern part of the island, between the villages of Piano and Gelso: the collapse of this volcanic structure led to the formation of the Caldera del Piano, which profoundly changed the shape of the island.
Around 78,000 years ago, the eruptions moved northwards, to the area where the Fossa cone is present today, with the formation of several small eruptive centres.
Finally, the current Fossa cone began to form around 8,000 years ago, with a series of volcanic eruptions often accompanied by small lava flows. This intense volcanic activity, combined with the ever-present fumarolic activity at the Gran Cratere of La Fossa, fed the myth of Hephaestus during Greek and Roman times, and many other legends in later centuries.
The last eruption from 1888-90 was also characterised by volcanic eruptions: this was one of the first eruptions in the world to be observed and studied in first person, by the scientist Giuseppe Mercalli. Together with volcanologist Etneo Orazio Silvestri, he studied the eruptive mechanisms and the chemical-physical characteristics of Vulcano’s magma.

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