David against Goliath

in deutsch

The Refugio Sapienza at the 26th of July  



With your energie you won this nearly hopeless fight against Etna! Not often men won against the power of a volcano. 




2001, the up to 10 - 15 meter high lava front behind the funivia was nearly striking a facility building. If the main flow would have hit the center you would have see nothing else than black lava field at the next day. This flow was so mighty that the constructions weren't able to stand against this mass.

In 1983 the nearly similar situation. Huge lava masses around the hotel.  Ski lifts and stations got ruined totally by the eruptions. The house of Mr . Nicolosi close to the Sapienza  was covered by a 17 meter thick basaltic lava layer. ( You can visit this place up to this days.)    Copyright by Plurigraf - Narni


In the early evening the mighty lava front was reaching the Refugio Sapienza. During the activities of Mt. Etna inexorable fights avoided the destruction of the refugio. By building dams up to 10 m during the whole nights this huge lava front was directed within a hair's breadth along the center of the Sapienza


Will the dikes resist against the glowing mass behind.

Actually it is no surprise that the whole tourist station which is situated very close to a high graded volcanic active area will get problems in the near future. All in all the great luck in two decades owing to the very good natured Mongibello, let no one got injured (except one surprise - attacked mountaineer), and bewared the center of the Sapienza of it's full destruction.


The lift station is collapsing. The heat was such enormous that in a distance of five meters the paint was burning and the laterns were exploding. At this heated place you had the feeling that iron can burn.



It's now 3.00 am in the morning of the 27th of July. The lava has passed the main center of the refugio but destroyed later a big store house, which was burning down in 20 minutes. A little forest behind the Sapienza was whiped out in half an hour. Always in the background the mighty lava fontains of Monte del Lago behind the Montagnola summit.


 Always in the uprising back the mighty lava fontains of Monte del Lago behind the Montagnola summit.

Working till the first morning light! The mighty lava flow passed the center in a distance of 5 meters!! False informations of the press were saying that the Sapienza was destroyed at the 30-31 July 01. After not correcting this fatal mistake by themselves I found out from serious reports that the upper station was destroyed. A special contribution will issued about fail messages of our good old panicmaker press.


Before my favorite bocca

To the events from 22.7 - 27.7.01


Etna    Stromboli    Volcano world    Cinema

From Etna to Stromboli     Planets & Space

Copyright 2001, all photos and text by Th. Boeckel

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