Hephaestus at his Forge


View from some random barely-passable gravel road of the “New South-East Crater”

Etna’s been pretty smoky these past few days, and then all of a sudden the Etna watch group on Facebook starts posting pictures of lava.

I guess that means it’s time to hop in the car and go exploring!

Zoomed in view. Notice the verrrrry top left, you can see the top of the crater, where the eruptions must be much more interesting!

In Greek mythology, Hephaestus was the blacksmith to the gods. He made Hermes’ winged helmet and sandals. He forged Achilles’ armor, and Helios’ chariot. He gave Zeus his thunderbolts, even. For a pretty important blacksmith, you’ll need an equally important (and large) forge.

Like, one the size of a mountain

Some say Hephaestus lives below Mount Etna. Some say he used the Cyclopes as assistants in crafting his metal creations. All I know is, seeing molten hot lava glopping out the side of a mountain makes it very easy for me to see how believable these myths are. Above the flows lies the crater, which pulsed a glowing red like a fiery heartbeat as unseen lava blasted up into the air.

View from the road leading up to Etna Nord from Zafferna Etnea. This is the closest we could get, as after this the road turned north and took the flows out of view.

We set out on the roads skirting the mountain, looking for a good view. As you can see, we found a couple. What I didn’t have was my tripod. So, of the hundred or so shakicam photos I took, these were the ones where you can tell it’s a picture of lava.

Another try at the same shot

The first year we were here, we got to see an amazing eruption, and found out that Etna erupts pretty much once a month. The second time, we got totally skunked, and she started erupting right after we left. Even if it’s not as epic as our first volcano adventure, it’s still nice to have everything right with the world again.

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