Scientists say that Mount Etna, Europe’s tallest volcano, is sliding into the Mediterranean Sea. This slide could have “devastating consequences,” the scientists have warned.
Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity with a lengthy history of violent eruptions. On March 16, 10 people were injured in an explosion of hot rock on the mountain, an incident captured by a BBC film crew.
And, according to Fox News, a team of British experts has discovered the giant volcano on the east coast of the island Sicily, Italy, is edging closer to the Mediterranean Sea by 0.6 inches every year which could result in collapse. Open University geologist Dr. John Murray has spent nearly 50 years studying the volcano and believes this is the first sliding of this magnitude to be recorded.
Writing in a report published in The Bulletin of Volcanology, Dr. Murray and his team said this “strong geological evidence” of sliding has a natural tendency to result in “large catastrophic sector collapse” and “devastating consequences” such as landslides. Speaking to the BBC, Dr. Murray said there isn’t a reason to be worried just yet though. “I would say there is currently no cause for alarm, but it is something we need to keep an eye on, especially to see if there is an acceleration in this motion,” he said.
The scientist research used GPS measurements over 11 years between 2001 and 2012 and concluded that Mount Etna’s movement is the fault of underlying weak sediments causing it to move in an east-south-east direction, down a gentle slope of 1-3 degrees towards the coastal town of Giarre, which is about 9.3 miles away.