University of Malta

2018 Earth Systems field trip to the Etna region, Sicily
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Twenty-four first-year students from the Institute of Earth Systems recently participated in their first overseas field trip as part of a study-unit titled “Dynamics of the Earth: Earth's Living Systems”, which introduces students to the functioning of the ecological systems that underpin the survival of all life on Earth. The students, who are reading for the Institute’s B.Sc. (Hons) in Earth Systems, explored the various ecosystems of Sicily’s Etna region during the two-day trip on 14 and 15 March.

Group of students and staff members close to the summit of Mount Etna 

 Staff members and students close to the summit of Mt. Etna (Photo: Nadya Buga) 

On the first day, the group of students together with three academic staff members from the Institute travelled by cable car and snowmobile to the summit of Mount Etna at around 3,000 metres above sea level, where they viewed the active Southeast craters as well as historic lava flows in the area. This summit excursion included a briefing on Europe’s largest and most active volcano, and was followed by a visit to the inactive craters at Monti Silvestri at the lower altitude of 1,900 metres. 

Admiring the view at 3,000 metres above sea level 

Admiring the view at 3,000 metres above sea level!

The next day focussed on studying the geomorphology and biodiversity of the Etna region, including the Alcantara Gorge formed by runoff from Mount Etna and the Nebrodi Mountains, and the Argimusco megalithic site situated on a high plateau between the Nebrodi and Peloritani Mountains. More photos can be viewed here.

Towering megaliths at Argimusco 

The towering megaliths at Argimusco

Field trips, carried out both locally and abroad, are an integral part of the course programme of the B.Sc. (Hons) in Earth Systems, since experiencing new and diverse environments is considered to be key to students developing an appreciation of how the various Earth systems function and link together.

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Last Updated: 5 April 2018

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