Geology of the Mediterranean and the Volcanoes of Sicily

Study abroad in Italy, Sicily Art History course

Sicily, a land of active volcanoes. Black plumes and fiery red lava rivulets can be viewed on Mount Etna from Taormina. Mount Etna is the second most active volcano in the world and has been designated a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Vulcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI) of the United Nations due to its constantly active state and its proximity to populated areas. Students explore the transformation from the early mythological interpretation of volcanic phenomena in the Mediterranean to the current scientific development of volcanology. On site lectures include Mount Etna, Vulcano and the Iblean Foreland – the Sicilian margin of the African Plate located in the southeastern section of Sicily.

Course code

GEO 411 Geology of the Mediterranean and the Volcanoes of Sicily (taught in English)
GEO 412 Geologia del Mediterraneo e dei vulcani di Sicilia (taught in Italian)
An additional course fee of 180 Euro applies for excursions. to the Aeolian Islands and Volcano Mount Etna

Course offered
January and Short Term Summer Study Abroad Programs
Semester Study Abroad Programs (Spring, Summer and Fall Semesters)

Students can enroll in this course or combine this course with a language or other culture courses in a longer study program


Course Description:

This course provides a background to the geology of the Mediterranean region, Sicily and the Eolian Islands and introduces and deepens knowledge of volcanology. Volcanism is a key component of the regional geology of Sicily and in the adjacent Tyrrhenian Sea. Mount Etna is the second most active volcano in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity. Etna provides the fertile volcanic soil in which the Sicilian agriculture thrives. Orchards and vineyards flourish along the slopes of the volcano making the agriculture of Sicily unique and plentiful. Stromboli’s intensive eruptive bursts have earned it the nickname Lighthouse of the Mediterranean. Seminar topics include: Plate tectonic and volcanic settings, origin of the magmas, type and styles of eruptions, volcanic products, the physical properties of magmas, and eruptive mechanisms as well as the myths and legends which historically are connected to the volcanoes of Sicily. On site lectures significantly extend learning and enhance understanding of the class lectures.