Mount Etna, Sicily – November 1st, 2008
In this image, we have a clear view of the eastern part of Sicily and the tip of the Calabria region, separated by the Strait of Messina. At its narrowest point the strait measures 3.1 km (1.9 miles) in width, though near the town of Messina the width is closer to 5.1 km (3.2 miles). A natural whirlpool forms in the strait.
In the center, we can see a turquoise colored lake called Lake Ogliastra, near Raddusa. The islands at the top of the image are Lipari Island and Vulcano Island, south of Stromboli.
Of particular note in this image is Mount Etna, with snow near the summit, ringed by darker brown volcanic rock.
Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania. It is the largest active volcano in Europe, currently standing 3,329 m (10,924 ft) high, though it should be noted that this varies with summit eruptions; the mountain is 21 m (69 ft) lower now than it was in 1981. It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps. Etna covers an area of 1,190 km² (460 sq mi) with a basal circumference of 140 km. This makes it by far the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy, being about two and a half times the height of the next largest, Mount Vesuvius.
Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of eruption. The fertile volcanic soils support extensive agriculture, with vineyards and orchards spread across the lower slopes of the mountain and the broad Plain of Catania to the south.