By M. Yefimov, contributing writer
Sunday, October 28, 2018
(NEW FRONTIER NEWS)- Europe’s most active volcano has posed a threat to the people around it for thousands of years, but now water may be just as deadly.
Mount Etna, located on the Italian island of Sicily, is slowly, but surely sliding into the sea. This phenomenon has been observed by scientists for decades and is now raising the possibility of an enormous tsunami following the crumble of Etna.
If nothing is done to stop it, the tsunami would devastate the Mediterranean region. Similar landslides have caused large amounts of damage. The the eruption of Mount St. Helen killed 57 people and caused over 1.1 billion dollars in damage from a landslide, which was the largest ever recorded.
Meanwhile, a group of scientists lead by Morelia Urlaub, a research scientist from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany have planted sensors in sea to track the movement of the volcano.
According to Urlaub and her findings, Etna usually moves 2 to 3 centimeters (around 1 inch) in a year.
A recent study published in the journal Science Advances’ on October 10th, showed that Etna’s slow descent into the sea can speed up for weeks or months at a time due to magma) building up and then exploding onto the surface in an eruption.
In eight days alone, the sensors picked up a drop of 4 centimeters (around 2 inches) without an eruption.
But even with all of this, magma cannot always be held accountable. The sensors detected movement in the volcano’s flank, far from the core of magma. The team is still trying to find as much information as they can about the falling mountain.
John Murray, an Open University geologist who has spent decades studying Etna, has reassured the public that this is a problem for the future.
“We need to know a lot more about it before we can make any kind of predictions like that,” Murray said.
Dockrill, Peter. (October 2018). Mount Etna’s Sliding Into The Sea Could Trigger Deadly Tsunamis, Scientists Warn. Science Alert. Australia. https://www.sciencealert.com/italy-s-collapsing-volcano-unleash-deadly-tsunamis-scientists-warn-mount-etna-europe-sicily-most-active-magma#
Chow, Denise. Mount Etna is sliding into the sea. History shows that could be catastrophic. NBC News. The United States. https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/mount-etna-sliding-sea-history-shows-could-be-catastrophic-ncna925051