It’s inevitable. At least one time during every class, or tour, or lecture I get asked: Are you scared to live on a volcano? or Is there any kind of alert system in place?
Surely, when I moved to the volcano, I was a bit nervous. I watched eruptions and fingers of lava light up the night sky. I felt the tremors of subterranean explosions and pressure releases shake the house. I watched as clouds of black floated above our new home and far out to sea as deposits of fine black rock rained down around us.
There is no question, this is a living and breathing environment. You can see, here, exactly what I mean. Since prehistory, people have lived and farmed here, thriving and sacrificing. For all of its fertility, Etna is still one of the largest and most active volcanoes in the world.
And we feel safe here. Thanks, in part, to the work being done by the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology [INGV].
According to their website, “The main mission of INGV is the monitoring of geophysical phenomena in both the solid and fluid components of the Earth. INGV is devoted to 24-hour countrywide seismic surveillance, real-time volcanic monitoring, early warning and forecast activities [through] state-of-the-art networks of geophysical sensors [which] deliver a continuous flow of observations to the acquisition centers of Rome, Naples and Catania, where the data are analyzed around the clock by specialized personnel…for research and civil defense purposes.”
What does this mean … exactly?
Here’s a short video that gives you an idea of what the Catania team does … and how they play an important part in protecting the population, vineyards and wineries of Etna.
As always, I look forward to your comments …