Tree Roots and Grotta dei Tedeschi

March 20, 2024


Photographer: Rosario Catania   
Summary Author: Rosario Catania

On the slopes of Mount Etna is a lava flow cave known as Grotta dei Tedeschi in the Immacolatelle and Micio Conti Caving Complex. It stretches for about 490 feet (150 meters) and like many caves has large fallen rocks on its floor and narrow passages, but in the larger rooms it offers a unique spectacle.

Here it's possible to observe the bare roots of the oak forest that grow on the surface and, thanks to the fracturing of the volcanic rock, over decades have extended into the depths. They penetrate the surface vault of the cave until reaching the quarry area, pushing lower and lower to capture the moisture present inside the cave, which often reaches humidity values close to saturation (80-90 percent). Nature never ceases to amaze! The photo shows the roots, microdroplets of water and fog clouds, which stand out thanks to artificial lighting.

I thank for this expedition Cinzia Lo Certo, Giovanni Sturiale and Roberto Maugeri. Photo taken on January 9, 2024.

San Gregorio di Catania, Sicily, Italy Coordinates: 37.56764, 15.1112

Related Links:
The Wonder of Roots
Rosario’s Website