Mount Etna in Sicily is one of a small number of active volcanoes in the Mediterranean area, where written history survives from more than two millennia: its eruptions are therefore among the best documented in the world. This account of the eruption of 1819 was written by the chemist and vulcanologist Carmelo Maravigna, a professor at the University of Catania, who was commissioned by his colleagues to make scientific observations of the phenomena and to publish them in a clear and methodical format. Maravigna's book opens with the diary of his own observations from 27 May to 5 August 1819; it then describes the physical consequences of the eruption, including the spread and depth of lava flows, and discusses various theories of volcanic activity. The sixth chapter analyses the mineral deposits in the lava, and the last describes the volcano returned to its dormant state.
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