I have seen the smallest volcanoes I could ever imagine. Yes. They are tiny and you can find them in Sicily.
It all happened one hot summer…
We were driving through Sicily, the best part of Italy for the record, following a very basic travel map we drafted before departing. This is because, dear Reader, the best trips are those which have the minimum planning component. Satisfaction is guaranteed 🙂
We set out of Agrigento, 15 km north of town where we found this desolated spot with one particular attraction: the mini volcanoes of Macalube.
They really are very small… look at these photos.
This place, also known as L’Occhio di Macalubi (epitaph given by the locals) has always exerted charm and fascination over the local people and travellers. In fact the first descriptions of this place date back to big people such as Platon, Aristotle, Diodoro Siculo and Plinio il Vecchio, 200-300 BC. Because of the ancient Roman and Greeks were in the area, they believed that some divinity put in there a source of natural healing as they cherished the gushy mud for beauty and rheumatic treatments.
Lots of legends surround the area, precisely because the Romans and the Greeks loved to believe some devine scheme behind every natural phenomena. Some legends say that the tiny volcanoes erupted following a bloody battle between Arabs and Normans. Another says that a city used to stand in that exact place, but because the locals offended a god or goddess (don’t forget how vengeful Greek gods used to be) the city crumbled down disappearing forever…
Whichever legend says some of the truth we don’t know… Fact is there are many teeny tiny volcanoes and Stanito found them for you 🙂
These are mud volcanoes caused by the rare geological phenomenon known as sedimentary vulcanism, a phenomenon that is directly linked to inconsistent clay terrains interposed by salty water and methane. When the gas surfaces due to pressure it brings up clay and water with it thus creating a muddy cone. And if you look at it it looks like a volcano crater.
Here you can kind of see the size as I’m standing next to one
Fascinating, aren’t they?