The Red Mountains

The Red Mountains and the destructive eruption of 1669

The 17th century was a very troubled period for populations on the slopes of Etna. In fact, in 1607 a very intense eruptive phase began, in which there was emission of lava flows with extremely high and unusual volumes (3 km3 in less than one hundred years, around three times the normal emission rate for Etna). Over the course of this century, there were not many eruptive events, but they stood out for their long duration. The main eruptions occurred in 1607-10, 1614-24, 1634-38, 1646-47, 1651-53, 1669 and 1689. As if high volumes and long periods were not enough, almost all these eruptions were lateral, coming not from the summit craters, but along radial fractures at altitudes between 2400 and 900 metres. Of these, the most important, known and remembered by the local people, was the 1669 eruption. We have almost direct evidence of this eruption thanks to stories collected by Wolfgang Sartorius von Waltershausen .
The eruption began in mid-March 1669, with the opening of a fracture that spread from the summit craters to the town of Nicolosi in a few days. This is where the Strombolian activity began, with the formation of the present-day Monti Rossi, accompanied by high volumes of lava.
In a few months, the lava, which had already started from a low altitude (around 1000 metres), reached Catania, covering almost half of the city, and the sea. It was the longest lava flow, around 17 kilometres, emitted by Etna in the last 15,000 years.
Finishing off the century in style was the devastating 7.4 magnitude earthquake in 1693, which completely razed Catania and most of Eastern Sicily to the ground.
Monti Rossi oggi Litografia storica eruzione 1669 Mignemi

Lachea Island and the Aci Trezza Stacks

The 2001 eruption of Etna, when the Mountain seemed to be alive


The senses tell Valle del Leone

The “notches” of snow

The senses tell The Etna Viewpoint

The Elliptical, the first great volcano of Etna

The first volcanic structures of Etna, between Aci Castello and Aci Trezza

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

The continuous evolution of the Etna summit craters

The living mountain

The Jaci river

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

Acireale and reconstruction after the 1693 earthquake

The 1669 eruption in Catania

Why is Etna one of the most studied volcanoes in the world?

An ever-evolving volcano

The senses tell Torre del Filosofo

The Red Mountains and the destructive eruption of 1669

The fault system of the “Timpe” of Acireale

Empedocles and his passion for Etna

The senses tell Val Calanna

The Grand Tour in Sicily

The senses tell The summit craters

The earthquake that changed the geography of eastern Sicily in 1693

The eruption of 1928 that destroyed the town of Mascali

The senses tell The Red Mountains

A fauna yet to be discovered

Acireale and its “timpe”

The Etna viewpoint

The different names of the “Muntagna”

Etna: a marvellous group of different types of flora

Valle del Leone and the Elliptical

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

The senses tell Acireale

Etna, a natural laboratory where experiments can be carried out

Summit crater activity between 2011 and 2019

The world’s first (almost successful) attempt to stop a lava flow: the eruption of 1991-93

The senses tell Acicastello and Acitrezza