Report 7th December 2010

Sicily – Volcanoes in the Mediterranean

 Our special thanks must go to Mrs Angela Henson who, in attending her second meeting of the day, braved the icy conditions and pain from recent knee surgery to give us her talk,  Sicily – Volcanoes in The Mediterranean.   

Illustrated with slides of the spectacular scenery of some of the volcanoes she had climbed, Etna, Stromboli and Vesuvius, the talk was packed with enjoyable scientific fact, interesting history and anecdote. 

  Starting with a description of continental plates and fault lines where the majority of volcanoes are situated – the Pacific Ring of Fire for example.  Iceland is situated on the mid Atlantic ridge and has 65 active volcanoes which result in a volcanic eruption every three or four years. The biggest volcano in the world is in Hawaii and is situated on a ‘hot spot’. 

Volcanoes are like people; they all have their own character.  Vesuvius erupts violently causing much damage and is timed to erupt again at any time.  However Etna is much less destructive but erupts approximately every 15 months.  An interesting undersea volcano is the one situated between Sicily and North Africa, at the moment about 30 feet below sea level, in 1831 it erupted and formed a small island rising to about 200 feet above sea level. The alert captain of a passing Royal Navy ship promptly went ashore and named the island, Graham Island and claimed if for Britain. In 1987 when once more submerged the island was bombed by the American Navy who had mistaken it for a Russian submarine.           

George Mountford

 NB  Our next talk will be on 11th January 2011

 

 

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