The Italian Almanac

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Stromboli

Italian News - June 14

They will be able to withstand direct impact from a burning “bomb”, a lump of volcanic rock half a meter wide andweighing 150 kg that, falling at 250 km an hour, hits the ground like a speeding Ferrari. People taking shelter inside will hear a terrible thud, but will be unharmed, according to a statement from the Civil Defence Agency.

The shelters are the latest addition on the island of Stromboli efforts to prevent accidents happening to the tourists and researchers who climb to the summit of the volcano to have a look inside the Fossa craters and to examine the ceaseless explosive turmoil within.

“We have just finished installing six shelters near the summit, at points between 700 and 800 m above sea level,” explains Professor Bernardo De Berdardinis, director general of the Civil Defence Agency. The design of the shelters, worthy of the best air-raid shelters, involved a team of engineers and geologists from the University of Basilicata who developed a kind of canopy with double steel walls, weighing around twenty tonnes, and occupying 4 m X 2.5 m X 2.5 m.

“The shelters are set quite deep in the ground,” adds Professor De Bernardinis, “which means that not only are the very resistant to the impact from any volcanic bombs that might hit them, they can also withstand assault from sulphur dioxide, sulphuric acid and other aggressive fluids contained in emissions from the vulcano.”

With this operation, part of the development of the Stromboli monitoring network, set up after after the traumatic events of 2002-2003, the authorities hope to avoid the dramatic episodes which in the past caused serious (and in one case, in 2001, fatal) accidents to tourists, at risk from a sudden hail of bombs and burning fragments, and without anywhere to take shelter.