Valle del Leone

The Elliptical, the first great volcano of Etna

In Etna’s evolutionary history, the Elliptical was its first great stratovolcano , which definitively marked the shift from eruptive activity fundamentally on fractures and faults, to activity in a central conduit, where most of its eruptions occur. Its initial eruptive phases began around 66,000 years ago, ending 15,000 years ago, when the current eruptive era began, the era of the Mongibello Recente.
The morphology of the Elliptical was probably like present-day Etna.
The slope of some lava flows in the area of Valle del Leone and Punta Lucia on the north-west side of Etna does suggest that the volcanic structure of the time was higher than it is now, and that it reached an altitude of around 3600 metres. However, as in all stories related to the life of a volcano, there are constructive periods as well as destructive ones.
At the end of the Elliptical’s life around 15,000 years ago, a large elliptical caldera formed, which is where the volcano took its name, up to 8 km long at its widest point.
Recently, it was discovered that the formation of such a caldera can be linked to a period that also occurred in Etna’s other evolution phases, where the emission of very large and abnormal volumes of lava flows quickly emptied the magma chamber and led to the collapse of its roof, causing the caldera to form.
This once again shows how the study of Etna’s phenomena is still in strong evolution and that as technology advances, more and more important concepts will be acquired to reduce volcanic risk.
caldera dell’Ellittico

The senses tell The Red Mountains

Volcanic monitoring and eruption forecasting

The Jaci river

The Etna viewpoint

Valle del Leone and the Elliptical

The earthquake that changed the geography of eastern Sicily in 1693

The first Etnean volcanic events between Aci Castello and Aci Trezza

Torre del Filosofo: at the base of the summit craters (2950 metres)

The senses tell Torre del Filosofo

The senses tell Valle del Leone

The senses tell The Etna viewpoint

The senses tell Acireale

Lachea Island and the Aci Trezza Stacks

The Grand Tour in Sicily

Etna: a marvellous group of microclimates and vegetation

Summit crater activity between 2011 and 2019


The 1669 eruption in Catania

Val Calanna, the first step towards a single large volcanic structure

Etna, an ever-changing natural laboratory

The Red Mountains and the destructive eruption of 1669

Why did Etna form in that specific geographical position?

Acireale and its “timpe”

The continuous evolution of the Etna summit craters

The senses tell Val Calanna

The “notches” of snow

The Elliptical, the first great volcano of Etna

A fauna context yet to be discovered

Humankind and the volcano: how should we behave? Volcanic risk

The fault system of the “Timpe” of Acireale

The senses tell Acicastello and Acitrezza

Empedocles and his passion for Etna

The eruption of 1928 that destroyed the town of Mascali

The 2001 eruption of Mount Etna, where the approach to volcanoes changed

Etna, wine terroir of excellence

An ever-evolving volcano

The senses tell The Summit craters

Acireale and reconstruction after the 1693 earthquake

The different names of the “Muntagna”

Etna, the living mountain