la caldera dell'etna valle del boveAt the same time that the Gorges of Alcantara were created, in an imprecise period of the late Tertiary, about 5,3 million years ago, there was the volcano Etna: Etna was present and at least 1/3 higher than its’ current height (currently about 3,350 meters above sea level) – its’ altitude was about 5000 meters above sea level, or perhaps even more.

Its slopes were dotted with hundreds of cones, some large, others smaller, all formed near eruptive ephemeral vents or created by different eruptions over time.

Moreover, the volcano was surrounded by numerous faults, put under pressure from the magma from the depths of the earth around the volcano – it seemed to want to explode at any moment, in the entire area thunder and quakes were continuous, and all faults had small cracks ready to bring out the glowing magma.

But the magma that was near the highest mouth of the volcano became thicker and thicker, creating a plug for the more fluid magma that was

I Caproni studiano il pascolo

I Caproni studiano il pascolo

situated about 3500 feet below. The enormous pressure caused the volcano to inflate, and the magma was constantly in search of a fracture or a vein so that it could give vent to its’ power.

A quite unusual fracture was the Mojo, located in a valley, far to the north and decentralized (Latitude: 37 ° 54’33 .61 “N and Longitude: 15 ° 2’56 .60” E) compared to the central fracture of the volcano – the small volcano Mojo was situated in a shallow valley (535 m) and therefore very favorable to a possible lava flow from the depths of the earth, and finally an eruption of millions cubic meters of lava from a fracture suddenly came out, under considerable pressure, and the eruption was accompanied by strong activity of steam from the mouth of this newly created volcano. Out came lava, incandescent lapilli, volcanic dust that was rich in sulfuric acid, various debris that were thrown in every direction. This small fracture that had opened was the site of explosive activity that became stronger during the night. Ash and incandescent projectiles fell in abundance throughout the valley, the ash reached quota of about 35 km, the ash fallout reached enormous thickness, and prevented for several years to nearly all forms of life to colata di lavagenerate. The lava was so fluid that it took possession of the old river bed and it went forward for about 35 KM, until it went into the sea, fully occupying the mouth of the river in its passage, and this would create the famous Gorges of Alcantara. About 15 km downstream, where the old mouth of the river was, the lava would create a peninsula, which in future would be famous because a Greek conqueror would found a city with the name of Naxos. After the volcano had erupted millions of cubic meters  of lava, a void was created inside of it, an empty magma chamber, a void that could not sustain the immense weight of the volcano and inevitably, driven by the weight of its rocks and the depression of the magma that had come out – the whole system collapsed creating the immense caldera known as Valle del Bove, the Bove-valley, that is a thousand meters deep and five thousand meters wide. 35 cubic km of solid had collapsed, falling down about a thousand meters,  volcanic material were sunk firmly established for about thousand meters, and we can presume that this event caused an earthquake of an intensity felt very few times before, it is assumed that the shock wave went all around the world – if there were any hominoids, they died of fright.

The collapse of the volcano and its eruption had now filled almost the entire preexisting gulf.Valle-del-Bove territorio lavico

The eruption had created the magnificent and unique scenery of nature that in the future would be known as “The Gorges of Alcantara”.

A beautiful peninsula of solid lava had been created, on which one day a nation of conquerors would  found a town called Naxos.

This huge catastrophe had given to a beautiful valley a small volcano, about 700 meters high, which in the future would be known as Mojo in honor of a local legend that people who live nearby are proud of. A legend that has been passed on from grandparents to grandchildren, beliefs, legends and fantasies that the volcano Etna had impressed in their minds.

As verified by research conducted by the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) in Pisa, around 6000 B.C. the eastern flank of Etna fell into the sea and caused a devastating tsunami so powerful that not only Sicily and Italy but also the South Eastern Mediterranean. According recent studies, geophysicists and volcanologists today claim that  the catastrophe of Etna that took place 8000 years ago could happen again (hopefully in the distant future), as indicated by the slow “slip” into the Ionian Sea in the east wall of the volcano, under the pressure of the fault Pernicana.


NB This is just one of the most probable theories regarding the origins of the Bove-valley.