The area is prone to numerous natural hazard issues due to high seismicity and the presence of Mount Etna, one of the biggest and active volcanoes in Europe, whose roots possibly sink down to seafloor. Seismicity is linked to the collision between African and European plates and the region experienced large historical earthquakes and some of these strongest earthquakes (the most recent in 1908) caused also very intense tsunami wave. This is also a key site for the oceanographic circulation between Eastern and Western Mediterranean Sea through the Messina Strait and the Sicily Channel. Another field of investigation concerns acoustic detection for astrophysical research, because the EMSO Regional Facility is also a test site for the construction an underwater neutrino telescope (KM3NET). Acoustic detectors are used for sea noise monitoring, considering that acoustic pollution affects the good environmental status of the sea. Underwater noise, for example, could interfere with the main communication channel for several marine species, thus altering the ecological equilibrium in the area.
EMSO scientific disciplines: physical oceanography, geosciences, marine ecology