A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface. Earth's volcanoes occur because its crust is broken into 17 major, rigid tectonic plates that float on a hotter, softer layer in its mantle. Therefore, on Earth, volcanoes are found where tectonic plates are diverging or converging, most are found underwater. For example, a mid-oceanic ridge, such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, has volcanoes caused by divergent tectonic plates whereas the Pacific Ring of Fire has volcanoes caused by convergent tectonic plates. Volcanoes can form where there is stretching and thinning of the crust's plates, e.g. in the East African Rift and the Wells Gray-Clearwater volcanic field and Rio Grande Rift in North America. This type of volcanism falls under the umbrella of "plate hypothesis" volcanism. Volcanism away from plate boundaries has been explained as mantle plumes; these so-called "hotspots", for example Hawaii, are postulated to arise from upwelling diapirs with magma from the core–mantle boundary, 3,000 km deep in the Earth.
Volcanoes are not created where two tectonic plates slide past one another. Erupting volcanoes can pose many hazards, not only in the immediate vicinity of the eruption. One such hazard is that volcanic ash can be a threat to aircraft, in particular those with jet engines where ash particles can be melted by the high operating temperature. Large eruptions can affect temperature as ash and droplets of sulfuric acid obscure the sun and cool the Earth's lower atmosphere. Volcanic winters have caused catastrophic famines; the word volcano is derived from the name of Vulcano, a volcanic island in the Aeolian Islands of Italy whose name in turn comes from Vulcan, the god of fire in Roman mythology. The study of volcanoes is sometimes spelled vulcanology. At the mid-oceanic ridges, two tectonic plates diverge from one another as new oceanic crust is formed by the cooling and solidifying of hot molten rock; because the crust is thin at these ridges due to the pull of the tectonic plates, the release of pressure leads to adiabatic expansion and the partial melting of the mantle, causing volcanism and creating new oceanic crust.
Most divergent plate boundaries are at the bottom of the oceans. Black smokers are evidence of this kind of volcanic activity. Where the mid-oceanic ridge is above sea-level, volcanic islands are formed. Subduction zones are places where two plates an oceanic plate and a continental plate, collide. In this case, the oceanic plate subducts, or submerges, under the continental plate, forming a deep ocean trench just offshore. In a process called flux melting, water released from the subducting plate lowers the melting temperature of the overlying mantle wedge, thus creating magma; this magma tends to be viscous because of its high silica content, so it does not attain the surface but cools and solidifies at depth. When it does reach the surface, however, a volcano is formed. Typical examples are the volcanoes in the Pacific Ring of Fire. Hotspots are volcanic areas believed to be formed by mantle plumes, which are hypothesized to be columns of hot material rising from the core-mantle boundary in a fixed space that causes large-volume melting.
Because tectonic plates move across them, each volcano becomes dormant and is re-formed as the plate advances over the postulated plume. The Hawaiian Islands are said to have been formed in such a manner; this theory, has been doubted. The most common perception of a volcano is of a conical mountain, spewing lava and poisonous gases from a crater at its summit; the features of volcanoes are much more complicated and their structure and behavior depends on a number of factors. Some volcanoes have rugged peaks formed by lava domes rather than a summit crater while others have landscape features such as massive plateaus. Vents that issue volcanic material and gases can develop anywhere on the landform and may give rise to smaller cones such as Puʻu ʻŌʻō on a flank of Hawaii's Kīlauea. Other types of volcano include cryovolcanoes on some moons of Jupiter and Neptune. Active mud volcanoes tend to involve temperatures much lower than those of igneous volcanoes except when the mud volcano is a vent of an igneous volcano.
Volcanic fissure vents are linear fractures through which lava emerges. Shield volcanoes, so named for their broad, shield-like profiles, are formed by the eruption of low-viscosity lava that can flow a great distance from a vent, they do not explode catastrophically. Since low-viscosity magma is low in silica, shield volcanoes are more common in oceanic than continental settings; the Hawaiian volcanic chain is a series of shield cones, they are common in Iceland, as well. Lava domes are built by slow eruptions of viscous lava, they are sometimes formed within the crater of a previous volcanic eruption, as in the case of Mount Saint Helen
The Tyrrhenian Sea is part of the Mediterranean Sea off the western coast of Italy. It is named for the Tyrrhenian people, identified since the 6th century BCE with the Etruscans of Italy; the sea is bounded by the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, the Italian peninsula to the east, the island of Sicily. The Tyrrhenian sea includes a number of small islands like Capri and Ustica; the maximum depth of the sea is 3,785 metres. The Tyrrhenian Sea is situated near where the Eurasian Plates meet; the eight Aeolian Islands and Ustica are located in the southern part of the sea, north of Sicily. The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Tyrrhenian Sea as follows: In the Strait of Messina: A line joining the North extreme of Cape Paci with the East extreme of the Island of Sicily, Cape Peloro. On the Southwest: A line running from Cape Lilibeo to the South extreme of Cape Teulada in Sardinia. In the Strait of Bonifacio: A line joining the West extreme of Cape Testa in Sardinia with the Southwest extreme of Cape Feno in Corsica.
On the North: A line joining Cape Corse in Corsica, with Tinetto Island and thence through Tino and Palmaria islands to San Pietro Point on the coast of Italy. There are four exits from the Tyrrhenian Sea: The Tyrrhenian Basin is divided into two basins, the Vavilov plain and the Marsili plain, they are separated by the undersea ridge known after Arturo Issel. The Tyrrhenian Sea is a back-arc basin that formed due to the rollback of the Calabrian slab towards South-East during the Neogene. Episodes of fast and slow trench retreat formed first the Vavilov basin and the Marsili basin. Submarine volcanoes formed because trench retreat produces extension in the overriding plate allowing the mantle to rise below the surface and melts; the magmatism here is affected by the fluids released from the slab. Its name derives from the Greek name for the Etruscans, who were said to be emigrants from Lydia and led by the prince Tyrrhenus; the Etruscans settled along the coast of modern Tuscany and referred to the water as the "Sea of the Etruscans".
Islands of the Tyrrhenian Sea include: Corsica Sardinia Sicily Elba Ischia Capri Ustica The main ports of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Italy are: Naples, Civitavecchia, Salerno and Gioia Tauro. In France the most important port is Bastia. Note that though the phrase "port of Rome" is used, there is in fact no port in Rome. Instead, the "port of Rome" refers to the maritime facilities at Civitavecchia, some 68 km to the northwest of Rome, not too far from its airport. Giglio Porto is a small island port in this area, it rose to prominence, when the Costa Concordia ran aground a few metres off the coast of Giglio and sank. The ship was refloated and towed to Genoa for scrapping. In Greek mythology, it is believed that the cliffs above the Tyrrhenian Sea housed the four winds kept by Aeolus; the winds are the Mistral from the Rhône valley, the Libeccio from the southwest, the Sirocco and Ostro from the south
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 20 regions of Italy. It is one of the five Italian autonomous regions, in Southern Italy along with surrounding minor islands referred to as Regione Siciliana. Sicily is located in the central Mediterranean Sea, south of the Italian Peninsula, from which it is separated by the narrow Strait of Messina, its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe, one of the most active in the world 3,329 m high. The island has a typical Mediterranean climate; the earliest archaeological evidence of human activity on the island dates from as early as 12,000 BC. By around 750 BC, Sicily had three Phoenician and a dozen Greek colonies and, for the next 600 years, it was the site of the Sicilian Wars and the Punic Wars. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, Sicily was ruled during the Early Middle Ages by the Vandals, the Ostrogoths, the Byzantine Empire, the Emirate of Sicily; the Norman conquest of southern Italy led to the creation of the Kingdom of Sicily, subsequently ruled by the Hohenstaufen, the Capetian House of Anjou and the House of Habsburg.
It was unified under the House of Bourbon with the Kingdom of Naples as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It became part of Italy in 1860 following the Expedition of the Thousand, a revolt led by Giuseppe Garibaldi during the Italian unification, a plebiscite. Sicily was given special status as an autonomous region on 15th May 1946, 18 days before the Italian constitutional referendum of 1946. Albeit, much of the autonomy still remains unapplied financial autonomy, because the autonomy-activating laws have been deferred to be approved by the parithetic committee, since 1946. Sicily has a rich and unique culture with regard to the arts, literature and architecture, it is home to important archaeological and ancient sites, such as the Necropolis of Pantalica, the Valley of the Temples and Selinunte. Sicily has a triangular shape, earning it the name Trinacria. To the east, it is separated from the Italian mainland by the Strait of Messina, about 3 km wide in the north, about 16 km wide in the southern part.
The northern and southern coasts are each about 280 km long measured as a straight line, while the eastern coast measures around 180 km. The total area of the island is 25,711 km2, while the Autonomous Region of Sicily has an area of 27,708 km2; the terrain of inland Sicily is hilly and is intensively cultivated wherever possible. Along the northern coast, the mountain ranges of Madonie, 2,000 m, Nebrodi, 1,800 m, Peloritani, 1,300 m, are an extension of the mainland Apennines; the cone of Mount Etna dominates the eastern coast. In the southeast lie the lower Hyblaean Mountains, 1,000 m; the mines of the Enna and Caltanissetta districts were part of a leading sulphur-producing area throughout the 19th century, but have declined since the 1950s. Sicily and its surrounding small islands have some active volcanoes. Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and still casts black ash over the island with its ever-present eruptions, it stands 3,329 metres high, though this varies with summit eruptions.
It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps. Etna covers an area of 1,190 km2 with a basal circumference of 140 km; this makes it by far the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy, being about two and a half times the height of the next largest, Mount Vesuvius. In Greek mythology, the deadly monster Typhon was trapped under the mountain by Zeus, the god of the sky. Mount Etna is regarded as a cultural symbol and icon of Sicily; the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, to the northeast of mainland Sicily form a volcanic complex, include Stromboli. The three volcanoes of Vulcano and Lipari are currently active, although the latter is dormant. Off the southern coast of Sicily, the underwater volcano of Ferdinandea, part of the larger Empedocles volcano, last erupted in 1831, it is located between the island of Pantelleria. The autonomous region includes several neighbouring islands: the Aegadian Islands, the Aeolian Islands and Lampedusa; the island is drained by several rivers, most of which flow through the central area and enter the sea at the south of the island.
The Salso flows through parts of Enna and Caltanissetta before entering the Mediterranean Sea at the port of Licata. To the east, the Alcantara flows through the province of Messina and enters the sea at Giardini Naxos, the Simeto, which flows into the Ionian Sea south of Catania. Other important rivers on the island are the Platani in the southwest. Sicily has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild and wet winters and hot, dry summers with changeable intermediate seasons. On the coasts the south-western, the climate is affected by the African currents and summers can be scorching. Sicily is seen as an island of warm winters but above all along the Tyrrhenian coast and in the inland areas, winters can be cold, with typical continental climate. Snow falls in abundance above 900–1000 metres, but stronger cold waves can carry it in the hills and in coastal cities on the northern coast of the island; the interi
Vulcano or "Vulcan" is a small volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, about 25 km north of Sicily and located at the southernmost end of the eight Aeolian Islands. The island is 21 km2 in area, rises to 501 m above sea level, it contains several volcanic caldera, including one of the four active volcanoes in Italy that are not submarine; the word "volcano" and its equivalent in several European languages derive from the name of this island, which in turn derives from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. The Romans used the island for raw materials, harvesting timber, mining alum and sulfur; these were the principal activities on the island until the end of the 19th Century. After the Bourbon rule collapsed in 1860, a Briton named James Stevenson bought the northern part of the island, built a villa, reopened the local mines, planted vineyards for making Malmsey wine. Stevenson lived on Vulcano until the last major eruption on the island happened in 1888; this eruption lasted the better part of two years, by which time Stevenson had sold all of his property to the local populace.
He never returned to the island. His villa is still intact; the volcanic activity in the region is the result of the northward-moving African Plate meeting the Eurasian Plate. There are three volcanic centres on the island: At the southern end of the island are old stratovolcano cones, Monte Aria, Monte Saraceno and Monte Luccia, which have collapsed into the Il Piano Caldera; the most active centre is the Gran Cratere at the top of the Fossa cone, the cone having grown in the Lentia Caldera in the middle of the island, has had at least nine major eruptions in the last 6000 years. At the north of the island is Vulcanello, connected to the rest of it by an isthmus, flooded in bad weather, it emerged from the sea during an eruption in 183 BCE as a separate islet. Occasional eruptions from its three cones with both pyroclastic flow deposits and lavas occurred from until 1550, with the last eruption creating a narrow isthmus connecting it to Vulcano. Vulcano has been quiet since the eruption of the Fossa cone on 3 August 1888 to 1890, which deposited about 5 m of pyroclastic material on the summit.
The style of eruption seen on the Fossa cone is called a Vulcanian eruption, being the explosive emission of pyroclastic fragments of viscous magmas caused by the high viscosity preventing gases from escaping easily. This eruption of Vulcano was documented at the time by Giuseppe Mercalli. Mercalli described the eruptions as "... Explosions sounding like a cannon at irregular intervals..." As a result, vulcanian eruptions are based on this description. A typical vulcanian eruption can hurl blocks of solid material several hundreds of metres from the vent. Mercalli reported blocks from the 1888-1890 eruption fell in the sea between Vulcano and Lipari, several were photographed by him or his assistants that had fallen on the island of Vulcano. Volcanic gas emissions from this volcano are measured by a multicomponent gas analyzer system, which detects degassing of rising magmas before an eruption, improving prediction of volcanic activity. A survey on local groundwater occurred during 1995–1997 showed temperatures up to 49–75°C, sodium sulfate-chloride chemical composition and near neutral pH in the water wells closest to the slopes of the volcanic cone.
This is due to condensation of to the slopes of the volcanic cone and water-rock interaction buffering. Since Vulcano island has volcanic activity, it is a place where thermophiles and hyperthermophiles are to be found. In fact, the hyperthermophilic archaea Pyrococcus furiosus was described for the first time when it was isolated from sediments of this island by Gerhard Fiala and Karl Stetter; the Ancient Greeks named the island Thérmessa. The island appeared in their myths as the private foundry of the Olympian god Hephaestus, the patron of blacksmiths, he had another two foundries at Olympus. Strabo mentions Thermessa as sacred place of Hephaestus, but it is not clear if it was a third name for the island, or just an adjective; the Romans believed that Vulcano was the chimney of the god Vulcan's workshop and therefore named the island after him. The island had grown due to his periodic clearing of ashes from his forge; the earthquakes that either preceded or accompanied the explosions of ash were considered to be due to Vulcan making weapons for the god Mars and his armies to wage war.
The motion picture Vulcano was filmed on Vulcano and the nearby island of Salina between 1949 and 1950. An asteroid is named for 4464 Vulcano; the island of Vulcano is featured in the Battle Tendency story arc of the manga JoJo's Bizarre Adventure by Hirohiko Araki, as the scene of the final clash between the protagonist Joseph Joestar and the antagonist Kars, leader of the Pillar Men. In the opinion of the American attorney and writer Richard Paul Roe, the play The Tempest by William Shakespeare is set on the island of Vulcano. List of volcanoes in Italy List of islands of Italy Vulcan Vulcano a 1950 Italian drama film set on the island. Ezio Giunta, dir.. "Vulcano". Estateolie 2005*The Essential Guide: 80–87. "Vulcano". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2008-12-18. Photos and explanatory captions
Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence by ship or boat-borne attackers upon another ship or a coastal area with the goal of stealing cargo and other valuable items or properties. Those who engage in acts of piracy are called pirates; the earliest documented instances of piracy were in the 14th century BC, when the Sea Peoples, a group of ocean raiders, attacked the ships of the Aegean and Mediterranean civilizations. Narrow channels which funnel shipping into predictable routes have long created opportunities for piracy, as well as for privateering and commerce raiding. Historic examples include the waters of Gibraltar, the Strait of Malacca, the Gulf of Aden, the English Channel, whose geographic structures facilitated pirate attacks. A land-based parallel is the ambushing of travelers by bandits and brigands in highways and mountain passes. Privateering uses similar methods to piracy, but the captain acts under orders of the state authorizing the capture of merchant ships belonging to an enemy nation, making it a legitimate form of war-like activity by non-state actors.
While the term can include acts committed in the air, on land, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore, in cyberspace, as well as the fictional possibility of space piracy, this article focuses on maritime piracy. It does not include crimes committed against people traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator. Piracy or pirating is the name of a specific crime under customary international law and the name of a number of crimes under the municipal law of a number of states. In the early 21st century, seaborne piracy against transport vessels remains a significant issue in the waters between the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, off the Somali coast, in the Strait of Malacca and Singapore. Today, pirates armed with automatic weapons, such as assault rifles, machine guns and rocket propelled grenades use small motorboats to attack and board ships, a tactic that takes advantage of the small number of crew members on modern cargo vessels and transport ships, they use larger vessels, known as "mother ships", to supply the smaller motorboats.
The international community is facing many challenges in bringing modern pirates to justice, as these attacks occur in international waters. Some nations have used their naval forces to protect private ships from pirate attacks and to pursue pirates, some private vessels use armed security guards, high-pressure water cannons, or sound cannons to repel boarders, use radar to avoid potential threats; the English word "pirate" comes from the Latin term purateivitia and that from Greek πειρατής, "brigand", in turn from πειράομαι, "I attempt", from πεῖρα, "attempt, experience". The meaning of the Greek word peiratēs is "one who attacks"; the word is cognate to peril. The term first appeared in English c. 1300. Spelling did not become standardised until the eighteenth century, spellings such as "pirrot", "pyrate" and "pyrat" occurred until this period, it may be reasonable to assume that piracy has existed for as long as the oceans were plied for commerce. As early as 258 AD, the Gothic-Herulic fleet ravaged towns on the coasts of the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara.
The Aegean coast suffered similar attacks a few years later. In 264, the Goths reached Galatia and Cappadocia, Gothic pirates landed on Cyprus and Crete. In the process, the Goths took thousands into captivity. In 286 AD, Carausius, a Roman military commander of Gaulish origins, was appointed to command the Classis Britannica, given the responsibility of eliminating Frankish and Saxon pirates, raiding the coasts of Armorica and Belgic Gaul. In the Roman province of Britannia, Saint Patrick was enslaved by Irish pirates; the most known and far-reaching pirates in medieval Europe were the Vikings, seaborne warriors from Scandinavia who raided and looted between the 8th and 12th centuries, during the Viking Age in the Early Middle Ages. They raided the coasts and inland cities of all Western Europe as far as Seville, attacked by the Norse in 844. Vikings attacked the coasts of North Africa and Italy and plundered all the coasts of the Baltic Sea; some Vikings ascending the rivers of Eastern Europe as far as the Black Sea and Persia.
The lack of centralized powers all over Europe during the Middle Ages enabled pirates to attack ships and coastal areas all over the continent. In the Late Middle Ages, the Frisian pirates known as Arumer Zwarte Hoop led by Pier Gerlofs Donia and Wijerd Jelckama, fought against the troops of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V with some success. Toward the end of the 9th century, Moorish pirate havens were established along the coast of southern France and northern Italy. In 846 Moor raiders sacked the extra muros Basilicas of Saint Paul in Rome. In 911, the bishop of Narbonne was unable to return to France from Rome because the Moors from Fraxinet controlled all the passes in the Alps. Moor pirates operated out of the Balearic Islands in the 10th century. From 824 to 961 Arab pirates in the Emirate of Crete raided the entire Mediterranean. In the 14th century, raids by Moor pirates forced the Venetian Duke of Crete to ask Venice to keep its fleet on constant guard. After the Slavic invasions of the former Roman province of Dalmatia in the 5th and 6th centuries, a tribe called the Narentines revived the old Illyrian piratical habits and raided the Adriatic Sea starting in the 7th
Helladic chronology is a relative dating system used in archaeology and art history. It complements the Minoan chronology scheme devised by Sir Arthur Evans for the categorisation of Bronze Age artefacts from the Minoan civilization within a historical framework. Whereas Minoan chronology is specific to Crete, the cultural and geographical scope of Helladic chronology is mainland Greece during the same timespan. A Cycladic chronology system is used for artifacts found in the Aegean islands. Archaeological evidence has shown that, civilisation developed concurrently across the whole region and so the three schemes complement each other chronologically, they are grouped together as "Aegean" in terms such as Aegean civilization. The systems apply to pottery, a benchmark for relative dating of associated artifacts such as tools and weapons. On the basis of style and technique, Evans divided his Cretan Bronze Age pottery finds into three main periods which he called Early and Late Minoan; these were sub-divided into some of those into sub-phases.
The Helladic and Cycladic schemes were devised and have similar sub-divisions. Evans' system has stood the test of time remarkably well but his labels do not provide firm dates because change is never constant and some styles were retained in use much longer than others; some pottery can be dated with reasonable precision by reference to Egyptian artifacts whose dates are more certain. Helladic society and culture have antecedents in Neolithic Greece when most settlements were small villages which subsisted by means of agriculture and hunting; the gradual development of skills such as bronze metallurgy, monumental architecture and construction of fortifications brought about the transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. The Late Helladic is sometimes called the Mycenaean Age because Mycenae was the dominant state in Greece. At the end of the Bronze Age, Aegean culture went into a long period of decline, termed a Dark Age by some historians, as a result of invasion and war; the three terms Cycladic and Minoan refer to location of origin.
Thus, Middle Minoan objects might be found in the Cyclades, but they are not on that account Middle Cycladic, just as an Early Helladic pot found in Crete is not Early Minoan. The scheme tends to be less applicable in areas on the periphery of the Aegean, such as the Levant or North Africa. Pottery there might imitate Aegean cultural models and yet be locally manufactured. Archaeology has found evidence in the form of pottery, that a broadly similar way of life was spread over mainland Greece, the Cyclades and Crete as the Neolithic Age was superseded by the Bronze Age before 3000 BCE. Evidence increases through Bronze Age strata with social and economic development seen to develop more quickly. Unlike the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilisations, the Aegean peoples were illiterate through the third millennium and so, in the absence of useful written artifacts, any attempt at chronology must be based on the dating of material objects. Pottery was by far the most widespread in terms of everyday use and the most resistant to destruction when broken as the pieces survive.
Given the different styles and techniques used over a long period of time, the surviving pots and shards can be classified according to age. As stratified deposits prove which of similar objects from other sites are contemporary, they can therefore be equated chronologically; the Early and Late scheme can be applied at different levels. Rather than use such cumbersome terms as Early Early, archaeologists follow Evans' convention of I, II, III for the second level, A, B, C for the third level, 1, 2, 3 for the fourth level and A, B, C for the fifth. Not all levels are present at every site. If additional levels are required, another Early, Middle or Late can be appended; the Helladic chronology is subdivided as: These are the estimated populations of hamlets and towns of the Helladic period over time. Note that there are several problems with estimating the sizes of individual settlements, the highest estimates for a given settlements, in a given period, may be several times the lowest; the Early Helladic period of Bronze Age Greece is characterized by the Neolithic agricultural population importing bronze and copper, as well as using rudimentary bronze-working techniques first developed in Anatolia with which they had cultural contacts.
The EH period corresponds in time to the Old Kingdom in Egypt. Important EH sites are clustered on the Aegean shores of the mainland in Boeotia and Argolid or coastal islands such as Aegina and Euboea and are marked by pottery showing influences from western Anatolia and the introduction of the fast-spinning version of the potter's wheel; the large "longhouse" called a megaron was introduced in EHII. The infiltration of Anatolian cultural models was not accompanied by widespread site destruction; the Early Helladic I period known as the "Eutresis culture" c.3200–c.2650 BC, is characterized by the presence of unslipped and burnished or red slipped and burnished pottery at Korakou and other sites. In terms of ceramics and settlement patterns, there is considerable continuity between the EHI period and the preceding Final Neolithic period; the transition from Early Helladic I to the Early Helladic II period c.2650–c.2200 BC, occurred and without disruption where multiple socio-cultural innovations were developed such as meta
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of the Italian Peninsula and to the immediate south of the French island of Corsica. Sardinia is politically a region of Italy, whose official name is Regione Autonoma della Sardegna / Regione Autònoma de Sardigna, enjoys some degree of domestic autonomy granted by a specific Statute, it is divided into four provinces and a metropolitan city, with Cagliari being the region's capital and its largest city. Sardinia's indigenous language and the other minority languages spoken on the island are recognized by the regional law and enjoy "equal dignity" with Italian. Due to the variety of its ecosystems, which include mountains, plains uninhabited territories, rocky coasts and long sandy beaches, the island has been defined metaphorically as a micro-continent. In the modern era, many travelers and writers have extolled the beauty of its untouched landscape, which houses the vestiges of the Nuragic civilization; the name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *srd- romanised as sardus.
It makes its first appearance on the Nora Stone, where the word Šrdn testifies to the name's existence when the Phoenician merchants first arrived. According to Timaeus, one of Plato's dialogues and its people as well might have been named after a legendary woman going by Sardò, born in Sardis, capital of the ancient Kingdom of Lydia. There has been speculation that identifies the ancient Nuragic Sards with the Sherden, one of the Sea Peoples, it is suggested that the name had a religious connotation from its use as the adjective for the ancient Sardinian mythological hero-god Sardus Pater, as well as being the stem of the adjective "sardonic". In Classical antiquity, Sardinia was called a number of names besides Sardò or Sardinia, like Ichnusa and Argirofleps. Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 24,100 square kilometres, it is situated between 8 ° 8' and 9 ° 50' east longitude. To the west of Sardinia is the Sea of Sardinia, a unit of the Mediterranean Sea.
The nearest land masses are the island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Tunisia, the Balearic Islands, Provence. The Tyrrhenian Sea portion of the Mediterranean Sea is directly to the east of Sardinia between the Sardinian east coast and the west coast of the Italian mainland peninsula; the Strait of Bonifacio is directly north of Sardinia and separates Sardinia from the French island of Corsica. The coasts of Sardinia are high and rocky, with long straight stretches of coastline, many outstanding headlands, a few wide, deep bays, many inlets and with various smaller islands off the coast; the island has an ancient geoformation and, unlike Sicily and mainland Italy, is not earthquake-prone. Its rocks date in fact from the Palaeozoic Era. Due to long erosion processes, the island's highlands, formed of granite, trachyte, basalt and dolomite limestone, average at between 300 to 1,000 metres; the highest peak is part of the Gennargentu Ranges in the centre of the island. Other mountain chains are Monte Limbara in the northeast, the Chain of Marghine and Goceano running crosswise for 40 kilometres towards the north, the Monte Albo, the Sette Fratelli Range in the southeast, the Sulcis Mountains and the Monte Linas.
The island's ranges and plateaux are separated by wide alluvial valleys and flatlands, the main ones being the Campidano in the southwest between Oristano and Cagliari and the Nurra in the northwest. Sardinia has few major rivers, the largest being the Tirso, 151 km long, which flows into the Sea of Sardinia, the Coghinas and the Flumendosa. There are 54 artificial dams that supply water and electricity; the main ones are Lake Coghinas. The only natural freshwater lake is Lago di Baratz. A number of large, salt-water lagoons and pools are located along the 1,850 km of the coastline; the climate of the island is variable from area to area, due to several factors including the extension in latitude and the elevation. It can be classified in two different macrobioclimates, one macrobioclimatic variant, called Submediterranean, four classes of continentality, eight thermotypic horizons and seven ombrotypic horizons, resulting in a combination of 43 different isobioclimates. During the year there is a major concentration