CULTURE

Sicily, Etna: the secret about the age of the Bove Valley revealed.

Italian research, published in the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research and conducted by the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), in collaboration with the University of Urbino, has finally revealed the secret of the age of the Bove valley.

The Valle del Bove valley is a large basin located on the eastern slope of the volcano Etna, within the protected area of the Etna park, in the municipality of Zafferana Etnea. The research, carried out by means of particularly technological and complicated measurements and examinations, has revealed not only the dating of the landslide that formed the valley, but also the lateral eruptions that have taken place over the centuries.

Join us on this splendid journey to one of the most evocative places on the entire Sicilian island.

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Sicily, Etna: the secret of the Bove Valley's age revealed
Italian research, published in the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research and conducted by the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), in collaboration with the University of Urbino, has finally revealed the secret of the age of the Bove valley. The valley is a wide basin located on the eastern slope of the volcano Etna, within the protected area of the Etna Park, in the municipality of Zafferana Etnea. The research, carried out by means of particularly technological and complicated measurements and examinations, has revealed not only the dating of the landslide that formed the valley, but also the lateral eruptions that have taken place over the centuries. Join us on this splendid journey to one of the most evocative places on the entire Sicilian island.
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When the Bove valley was formed
About 7 km long and 4.5 km wide, the Bove valley on the eastern slope of Etna was formed between 9,501 and 9,157 years, i.e. between 7478 and 7134 BC.
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Studying the formation of the Bove Valley
The study was conducted by an Italian research group of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) in collaboration with the University of Urbino, and published in the scientific journal 'Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research'. The original title of the research is 'Age of the Valle del Bove formation and chronology of the post-collapse flank eruptions, Etna volcano (Italy)'.
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How the valley was formed
Explaining the formation of the Bove valley was Stefano Branca, Director of the Osservatorio Etneo and one of the authors of the research. The first signature, however, is that of Arianna Beatrice Malaguti, who works between INGV and the University of Urbino. Reported by ANSA, these are Branca's words: 'This depression is the result of multiple flank collapse phenomena and related erosional phenomena that generated the current morphological structure of this sector of Etna during the Holocene. In particular, the initial phase of the valley's formation is due to a large flank collapse of the volcanic edifice that produced a vast detrital deposit that emerges in the area of the Milo settlement'.
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When the Bove valley was formed
The analysis was made possible by the discovery of some tree debris at the bottom of the landslide that formed the valley. In fact, Branca explains in the research: 'The analyses conducted allowed us to date the landslide deposit between 7478 and 7134 BC. So, we are talking about 9,000 years ago, a dating that was not possible until now.
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Some lateral volcanic eruptions are also dated
The research also made it possible to trace back several lateral volcanic eruptions that helped characterise the current shape of the area. In particular, palaeomagnetic dating has shown that two lateral eruptions occurred during the late Copper Age (2600-2400 BC) during the last 4000 years, and two other lateral eruptions, not reported in historical sources, occurred during the Greco-Roman and Medieval eras'.
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Etna, a world-famous volcano
Etna is the highest active volcano on the entire Eurasian plate, with the summit reaching a height of 3357 metres. On 21 June 2013, the XXXVII session of the UNESCO Committee included Etna in the list of World Heritage Sites.
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