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Queen of Etna's Caves - Grotta del Gelo

excursion / hiking to the most beautiful of Etna's lava caves

Stromboli to Etna Oct 08 (part 5): Excursion to Grotta del Gelo

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It's just before sunrise and we're at 3000 m a.s.l. Night frost has covered the summit area. We are passing at the base of SE crater where the conspicious hornito from the July 2001 eruption is located. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
It's just before sunrise and we're at 3000 m a.s.l. Night frost has covered the summit area. We are ... [info]
(1083 Hits)
By the time we have arrived on the NW side of the summit craters, the sun has risen and Etna drops her majestic morningshadow to the West over Sicily. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
By the time we have arrived on the NW side of the summit craters, the sun has risen and Etna drops h... [info]
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Sunlight and shadow play over the  surfaces of barren lava fields, still covered by thick frost. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Sunlight and shadow play over the surfaces of barren lava fields, still covered by thick frost. (Ph... [info]
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As we descend on the north side along rugged aa lava flows from NE crater during the 1970-80's, we come closer to the frost boundary and Monte Pizillo cinder cone, the trailhead to the Grotta del Gelo. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
As we descend on the north side along rugged aa lava flows from NE crater during the 1970-80's, we c... [info]
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We're on the NE rift zone; to our left, a pit crater, a few hundred meters upslope the still smoking upper part of the Oct 2002 eruptive fissure, the Pizzi Deneri and Northeast crater in the background. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
We're on the NE rift zone; to our left, a pit crater, a few hundred meters upslope the still smoking... [info]
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Frost between bundles of grass  (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Frost between bundles of grass (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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After about 30 minutes, we reach the spatter cones on the eruptive fissure from a spectacular fissure eruption in 1947. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
After about 30 minutes, we reach the spatter cones on the eruptive fissure from a spectacular fissur... [info]
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This funny-looking spatter cone needed an extra lateral pressure valve when it was active... (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
This funny-looking spatter cone needed an extra lateral pressure valve when it was active... (Photo:... [info]
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Small and large hornitos / spatter cones nicely arranged along the "bottoniera"-type fissure from 1947. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Small and large hornitos / spatter cones nicely arranged along the "bottoniera"-type fissure from 19... [info]
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Most hornitos are hollow inside. This one has a narrow entry... (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Most hornitos are hollow inside. This one has a narrow entry... (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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A large lava channel near the eruptive fissure looks almost as if from last week. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
A large lava channel near the eruptive fissure looks almost as if from last week. (Photo: Tom Pfeiff... [info]
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After about 1 hr, we have reached the large lava field of the huge effusive eruption from 1614-1624, that covered much of Etna's upper north flank with pahoehoe-type ("ropy") lava. This tumulus shows bizarre, almost living shapes. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
After about 1 hr, we have reached the large lava field of the huge effusive eruption from 1614-1624,... [info]
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After about 1,5 hrs into the hike, we are approaching a new, more recent, fissure system: black lapilli from lava fountains erupted from the fissure that fed the 1981 lava flow towards Randazzo are starting to cover the 17th century lava flows. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
After about 1,5 hrs into the hike, we are approaching a new, more recent, fissure system: black lapi... [info]
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The first tree we encounter, a single birtch growing from the lapilli-covered ground. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The first tree we encounter, a single birtch growing from the lapilli-covered ground. (Photo: Tom Pf... [info]
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View towards forested Monte Spagnolo. In the right of the frame, Randazzo town is visible. In the background, the broad mountains of the NĂ©brodi mountains. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
View towards forested Monte Spagnolo. In the right of the frame, Randazzo town is visible. In the ba... [info]
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A deep pit crater above the 1981 eruptive fissure. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
A deep pit crater above the 1981 eruptive fissure. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
(889 Hits)
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