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Mount Etna, Sicily’s towering and active volcano, has been deemed a World Heritage Site by the United Nations office UNESCO. The volcano joins 47 other World Heritage sites in Italy, including the Amalfi Coast and the Dolomite Mountains.
The selection of World Heritage sites is based on 10 criteria such as “to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared.”
“The almost continuous eruptive activity of Mount Etna continues to influence volcanology, geophysics and other Earth science disciplines,” UNESCO said. “The diverse and accessible range of volcanic features such as summit craters, cinder cones, lava flows and the Valle de Bove depression have made the site a prime destination for research and education.”
According to ANSA, “Mount Etna’s first recorded eruption was documented in 1500 BC. One of the mountain’s most dramatic eruptions in 1669 lasted four months and caused damage to the nearby city of Catania and town of Nicolosi. And though its explosions today are rarely deadly, a massive eruption in 1865 followed by a devastating earthquake killed more than 70 people near the village of Macchia.”
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