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Volcanic Peaks of Mount Etna and Aeolian Islands, Italy

37.7N 14.9E

February 4th, 2012 Category: Volcanoes

Italy - February 2nd, 2012

The island of Sicily (left) and southern Italy (right) are separated by the Strait of Messina, which connects the Tyrrhenian Sea with the Ionian Sea, within the central Mediterranean.Visible near the eastern coast of Sicily is Mount Etna, and visible off the northern coast are the Aeolian Islands.

Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania. It is the tallest active volcano in Europe, currently standing 3,329 m (10,922 ft) high, though this varies with summit eruptions. It also 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. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity.

The Aeolian Islands or Lipari Islands (Italian: Isole Eolie) are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily. Scientifically the archipelago is defined as a “volcanic arc”. There are two active volcanoes – Stromboli and Vulcano. The volcanic activity of steaming fumaroles and thermal waters are on most of the islands.

Mountains of Sicily and Calabria, Italy – December 12th, 2009

38.0N 15.5E

December 12th, 2009 Category: Image of the day

Italy - November 18th, 2009

Italy - November 18th, 2009

Part of the region of Calabria is visible to the upper right in this orthorectified image, at the very south of the Italian peninsula. It is connected to the rest of Italy by the Monte Pollino massif, while on the east, south and west it is surrounded by the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas.

The region is a long and narrow peninsula which stretches from north to south for 248 km, with a maximum width of 110 km. Some 42% of Calabria’s area, corresponding to 15,081 km2, is mountainous, 49% is hilly, while plains occupy only 9% of the region’s territory.

It is separated from Sicily by the Strait of Messina, where the narrowest point between Capo Peloro in Sicily and Punta Pezzo in Calabria is only 3.2 km.

The island of Sicily is also characterized by a densely mountainous landscape. The main mountain ranges are Madonie and Nebrodi in the north and Peloritani in the north-east, whereas the south-eastern Hyblaean are considered geologically as a continuation of the Italian Apennines. The volcano Mount Etna is located near the eastern shores.

Corfu and the Border Zone of Albania, Greece and Macedonia

39.6N 19.9E

September 28th, 2009 Category: Lakes

Albania, Greece and Macedonia - July 26th, 2009

Albania, Greece and Macedonia - July 26th, 2009

Sun glint off the Ionian Sea highlights the movement of its waters around the Greek island of Corfu. This large island is located off the shores of southern Albania and northwestern Greece. The terrain of these two countries along the sea, as well as that of the landlocked Republic of Macedonia (upper right quadrant), occupies the rest of the image.

More precisely, the northern part of Corfu lies off the coast of Sarandë, Albania, from which it is separated by straits varying in breadth from 3 to 23 km (2 to 15 mi). The island’s southern part lies off the coast of Thesprotia, Greece.

Inland, much of the landscape is mountainous. The lakes visible above center are Lake Ohrid, straddling the mountainous border between the southwestern region Macedonia and eastern Albania, and Prespa Lakes, shared by Greece, Albania, and Macedonia.

The body of water visible on the far right edge is actually part of the Aegean Sea, which borders Greece on its eastern side.

Coastline and Lakes of Albania – August 8th, 2009

40.9N 20.6E

August 8th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Lakes

Albania - July 27th, 2009

Albania - July 27th, 2009

Sediments line the coast of Albania, which is 362 kilometers long and extends along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Several sizeable lakes can also be observed: these are the three largest and deepest tectonic lakes of the Balkan Peninsula, all of which are partly located in Albania.

Lake Scutari, also called Shkodër and Skadar, in the country’s northwest (upper left corner), has a surface which can vary between 370 km2 (140 sq mi) and 530 km2, out of which one third belongs to Albania and rest to Montenegro. The Albanian shoreline of the lake is 57 km (35 mi). It is included in the Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance.

Lake Ohrid is situated in the country’s southeast (right of center) and is shared between Albania and Republic of Macedonia. It has a maximal depth of 289 meters and a variety of unique flora and fauna can be found there, including “living fossils” and many endemic species.

Because of its natural and historical value, Ohrid Lake is under the protection of UNESCO, as human activity on the lake shores and in its catchment area has resulted in the ecosystem coming under stress.

Prespa (to the right of Lake Ohrid) is the name of two freshwater lakes shared by Greece, Albania, and the Republic of Macedonia. Of the total surface area, 190 km² belongs to the Republic of Macedonia, 84.8 km² to Greece and 38.8 km² to Albania. They are the highest tectonic lakes in the Balkans, standing at an altitude of 853 m (2,798 ft).

The Great Prespa Lake is divided between Albania, Greece and the Republic of Macedonia, while the Small Prespa Lake is shared only between Greece and Albania. With an abundance of rare fauna and flora, the area was declared a Transnational Park in 2000.

Greece and the Cyclades Island Group

April 28th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Greece - April 10th, 2009

Greece - April 10th, 2009

Close-up of islands

Close-up of islands

The country of Greece consists of a large mainland area, on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula, as well as numerous islands in the Aegean Sea (east and south of the mainland) and the Ionian Sea (west). Of this vast number of islands, 1,400, 227 are inhabted.

The close-up focuses on the Cyclades, a Greek island group in the Aegean Sea, south-east of the mainland of Greece. They are one of the island groups which constitute the Aegean archipelago.

The Cyclades comprise about 220 islands, the major ones being Amorgos, Anafi, Ándros, Antiparos, Delos, Eschati, Ios, Kéa, Kimolos, Kythnos, Mílos, Mykonos, Náxos, Páros, Folegandros, Serifos, Sifnos, Sikinos, Síros, Tínos, and Santorini. Most of the smaller islands are uninhabited.

The islands are peaks of a submerged mountainous terrain, with the exception of two volcanic islands, Milos and Santorini (Thera).

The climate is generally dry and mild, but with the exception of Naxos the soil is not very fertile: agricultural produce includes wine, fruit, wheat, olive oil, and tobacco. Cooler temperatures are in higher elevations and mainly do not receive wintry weather.