Mount Etna Erupts

Mount Etna Erupts

March 11, 1669 - At almost 11,000 feet, Mount Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe. One of its deadliest eruptions was on this day in 1669.

The 2 months leading up to the disaster were filled with powerful earthquakes that rattled the entire island of Sicily.

At the foot of Mount Etna is the town of Catania with half a million people. Some of its residents got the hint and cleared out, but many more were there when a 5 mile crack opened in the side of the mountain. Out of the rift came a glowing river of lava that oozed down the mountain at 162 feet an hour. It headed straight for Catania.

The city walls were sixty feet high and they held back the lava for a week before it cascaded down and blazed a path of destruction to the sea.

The eruption and its aftermath would kill as many as 20,000 people. The lava would take 8 years to cool down.
 

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