Etna eruption 1991

Mount Etna is the highest and most important active volcano in Europe.

Rising from the sea about 500,000 years ago, the volcano was formed due to the superposition of the numerous lava flows generated by eruptions, until it formed its present measurement of 3357 meters. This height is subject to countless mutations always related to volcanic phenomena.

In December 1991 an eruption occurred that lasted until March 1993 and is considered a special event, important in many respects. Lava flowed out of a system of fractures located along the base of the southeast crater, in a north-south direction, which extended within a few days from elevation 3,100 to elevation 2,200. From a volcanological point of view, it represents the most "voluminous" eruption in recent centuries. The flows that flowed from the mouths poured into the extensive Bove Valley overlapping and sparing only the upper part of Mount Calanna. From there, channeled toward the Salto della Giumenta, they pushed down into the Calanna Valley, largely filling it and destroying chestnut groves, orchards, ancient fountains, rustic cottages and the water sources that fed the water supply network of the entire municipality of Zafferana Etnea, a town that suffered for months and months from the fear of being invaded by lava.

In the meantime, the Italian Army military, in collaboration with the Civil Defense, erected a high wall trying to curb the advance of the lava flow. The artificial barrier managed to withstand the thrust of the lava until April 1992, when as a result of increased magma flow, it was overwhelmed and overtopped. On April 12, 1992, the Council of Ministers declared a state of emergency, entrusting the then Minister for Civil Defense with full decision-making powers. Volcanologists and geologists, the military of the Italian Army, the Italian Red Cross, airmen and Marines from the military base of Sigonella, located near the city of Catania, were also involved, as well as several citizens who volunteered their time and means to deal with the eruption. On May 31, 1992, Minister Nicola Capria officially declared the danger to the town of Zafferana averted, as the flows downstream were no longer fed. The eruption continued for another ten months pouring in on itself in Valle del Bove, causing no more concern for the towns, stopping altogether on March 30, 1993.

It was an incredible event in terms of its social and landscape impact, the changes caused to the places invaded by lava and to agricultural and hiking activities in the Calanna Valley and Bove Valley. Certainly one of the most important eruptions of the 20th century.

In memory of this natural event that is still remembered nationally and beyond, we give you this piece of worked lava stone that comes right from that phantom and spectacular 1991 flow.

Nature is extremely powerful and reminds us, constantly, that humanity is only a small part of the global ecosystem. Volcanoes, with their devastating and at the same time creative force, are one of the natural phenomena that make us feel the greatness of the Earth and our transience as human beings.

We should understand that we do not have the right to barbarically exploit the resources of our planet but we do have the duty to protect it. Living sustainably is one of the ways to improve the world we inhabit, provide a future for generations to come, and preserve biodiversity and natural ecosystems.

Innovation and sustainability must be the key to the door of the future, must help to create without destroying.