|Location:||Mt. Etna, Sicily. Southern slopes of the mountain, start from the road between Zafferana and Grande Albergo del Parco. (37° 42' 02" N, 15° 02' 01" E)|
|Dimension:||L=1,150 m, VR=304 m, A=1,625 m asl.|
S. Calvari, H. Pinkerton (1999):
Lava tube morphology on Etna and evidence for lava flow emplacement mechanisms,
Journal of volcanology and geothermal research, ISSN 0377-0273, 1999, vol. 90, no3-4, pp. 263-280 (1 p.1/4)
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Grotta dei Tre Livelli (Cave of the Three Levels) is entered through Ingresso Basso (Lower Entrance), an artificial cave entrance which was created by road construction works. When the road was built the roof collapsed and the tube was bridged with concrete. The cave remained open and is now accessible in a few seconds from the road. After crossing the protecting railing of the road the tunnel below the road is crossed to reach the upper level of the cave. After a descent of six meters on a ladder and another step of two meters the main passage called Galleria a valle is reached. Galleria a vale is the passage to the valley or downhill. To the other side is Galleria a monte (passage to the mountain) going uphill for 150 m to the Ingresso alto (upper entrance). From here the cave continues 450 m more uphill called Galeria nuova (new passage). At the end the cave becomes more vertical which is interpreted as the original eruptive fissure, the place where the lava erupted.
Although the name of the cave suggests there are three levels, the cave actually has at least five levels. A funny fact is, that the age of the cave is exactly known: the lava flow happened in 1792-93.
To visit the cave appropriate clothes and good light are essential. Use a helmet and very sturdy boots, the lava is partly aa lava which is very sharp and will kill normal shoes. As the tour is self guided one may leave at will, but for a complete exploration of the cave you should plan four hours.