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Eruptions at this time built up the first major volcanic edifice, forming a stratovolcano in alternating explosive and effusive eruptions.The growth of the mountain was occasionally interrupted by major eruptions, leading to the collapse of the summit to form calderas.Thousands of years ago, the eastern flank of the mountain experienced a catastrophic collapse, generating an enormous landslide in an event similar to that seen in the 1980 eruption of Mount St. The landslide left a large depression in the side of the volcano, known as 'Valle del Bove' (Valley of the Ox).Research published in 2006 suggested this occurred around 8000 years ago, and caused a huge tsunami, which left its mark in several places in the eastern Mediterranean.In Greek Mythology, the deadly monster Typhon was trapped under this mountain by Zeus, the god of the sky and thunder and king of gods, and the forges of Hephaestus were said to also be located underneath it.Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity. Mongibello is also a fictitious location central to Patricia Highsmith's novel series The Talented Mr.
A particularly violent explosive (Plinian) summit eruption occurred in 122 BC, and caused heavy tephra falls to the southeast, including the town of Catania, where many roofs collapsed.
During the first 1500 years AD, many eruptions have gone unreported (or records have been lost); among the more significant are: (1) an eruption in about 1030 AD near Monte Ilice on the lower southeast flank, which produced a lava flow that travelled about 10 km, reaching the sea north of Acireale; the villages of Santa Tecla and Stazzo are built on the broad delta built by this lava flow into the sea; (2) an eruption in about 1160 (or 1224), from a fissure at only 350–450 m (1,148–1,476 ft) elevation on the south-southeast flank near the village of Mascalucia, whose lava flow reached the sea just to the north of Catania, in the area now occupied by the portion of the city named Ognina.