In a remote time, about the same period during which was created the Bove-valley, during the late Tertiary era about 5.3 million years ago, a tremendous roar accompanied by a powerful quake disturbed the quiet of the night. To the amazement of the first hominoids in a beautiful and fertile valley north-east of the volcano Etna (Latitude: 37 Â° 54â€™33 .61
â€œN and Longitude: 15 Â° 2â€™56 .60â€ E) a chasm had had opened, with intense and violent eruptions of lava, lapilli, dust and gas , 2 to 3 thousand meters high, causing fountains of lava and a mighty flow.
The pines, huge chestnut trees and acacias, oaks and prehistoric junipers all burned like torches.
The unusual violence of the eruption was spectacular in quantity and intensity, creating fear and astonishment in these hominoids. The lava was so liquid that it immediately took possession of the nearby bed of a river, which would soon pass to history as one of the most enviable rivers when it comes to itsâ€™ origins, (the river ALCANTARA) since the fracture was situated in a shallow valley (535 above sea level) and thus very favorable to the flow of magma that came from the depths of the earth. The lava was flowing very quickly, at about 6 meters per second, with an effusion rate estimated at 10-20 cubic meters per second, rather high for an eruption.
During the impair battle between fire and water, like a scene from Danteâ€™s Inferno, violent clouds of water vapor and brushwood on fire rose from the huge deluge of fire, which had flooded the entire valley, giving it the appearance of a huge red carpet, with the fluid lava that flooded the whole bed of the river, magma, advancing with overwhelming thrust of its own weight for about 2 or even 3 km into the quiet calm of the Ionian sea, and when the lava plunged into the sea were created curious mini waterspouts. The lava heated up the seawater, forming jets of steam because of differences in temperature and currents, and these waterspouts moved away from the shore for about 40/50 meters and then disappeared. The more the water from the sea and from the ancient river tried to oppose the power of nature, the more the magma hardened and became hard as steel. At the end, millions of cubic meters of lava had been poured at the mouth of the ancient river resulting in a peninsula: the current Cape SchisÃ². A peninsula on which, about 2275 years ago, a great nation began the great adventure that was immortalized by the beauty of the place where they decided to found their first colony called Naxos in honor of their native town, which in future would be called:Giardini Naxos, or the Gardens of Naxos as the tourists like think of it. This is another story that will be told further on. As a result of the invasion of the lava, the ancient river had to find a new course, a few kilometers to the south of where itsâ€™ mouth used to be. The old river bed was now abandoned to fate, and itsâ€™ walls were now of hardened lava with the shape of prisms that meet â€œlike a column.â€ The contractions are due to the rapid cooling of the lava masses pursuing the normal direction of surface cooling, creating, with time, the wonderful and beautiful canyons visible in some places (impossible to see in others because of the roughness of the terrain), especially in â€œthe Gorges of Alcantaraâ€œ. Another probable theory is that this huge flow of lava also created the Bove-valley, but this is a story that will be told further on.
The landscape formed by the encounter between the water of the river, lava rock and a clear sky, has enchanted travelers of any age and nationality. It is no coincidence that the Gorges of Alcantara, (whose name is reminiscent of a Roman bridge that could withstand the devastating floods of the river from the Arabic â€œAl Qantarah,â€ â€œthe bridgeâ€, is presumed to be the one that is situated along the â€ consular Valeria Roadâ€ on the border between Giardini Naxos and Calatabiano, this bridge was a very important part of the image of the Roman empire, through which it enjoyed a relative prosperity by promoting the economic conditions of Sicily, and the bridge is one of the most superb examples of Roman art. There are doubts about this bridge actually being the famous bridge. ). Today the Gorges of Alcantara are one of the most popular destinations for those seeking adventure tourism for everyone.
So, the catastrophic event has created a beautiful canyon of which all local environmentalists are proud. A scenario that only nature could have been able to create. This canyon is unlikely to have an equal in the world. In the Alcantara-valley was also created a volcano about 700 meters high, which in future would be called Mojo, in honor of a legend, passed down from grandparents to grandchildren trying to give an explanation to this event. The experience of visiting these wonderful Gorges of Alcantara, and the memory that it gives, cannot help but bewilder you at the immense power of nature.
NB This is just one of the most probable theories of the genesis of the Gorges of Alcantara.