Mt. Etna, Sicily, July 2001 - picture 22
© by Alex Gerst, Mt. Etna, Sicily, July 2001
The here visible "Rifugio Sapienza" lies half way up the slope of Mt. Etna, directly below the newly opened fissure. The lava flow in the background could only be hindered of destroying the buildings by massive efforts of piling up earth walls and cooling down the lava. Heavy Equipment and hundreds of people were necessary to accomplish this. Yet it was mostly luck that made the lava flow follow another path than right through the village. And still several houses and ski lift facilities got irreversibly covered by the lava masses with a thickness of several tens of metres. In general, human constructions don't stand any chance against the forces of a lava flow.
The houses in the background have been connected to the Rifugio Sapienza by a road just a week before the picture was taken. Now, the journey - around the lava flow - takes more than an hour.