The eruptive history of Mt. Etna during the last 400 years is well documented; by assuming that previous activity is representative of that in the future, it is possible to evaluate in a general way the hazard to land and property on different parts of the mountain by lava. Flank eruptions are more likely to occur on the rift zones or other areas of high vent density. Most eruptions occur where there is already more than 1 vent per km2, averaging about 1 eruption per 10 years. A map of the area that could be covered by lava from the high vent-density areas shows large sections of the mountain that are protected by topography or distance. Rates of lava resurfacing have been obtained for different areas, the average for the whole volcano being about 0.5 km2 per year. It is concluded that most towns are relatively safe from normal eruptive activity.

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