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The eruptive activity of the Fossa crater was intense, with more or less long intevals, until the beginning of the historical age; Tucidide, towards the end of the V century B.C. supplies us with the first information. During the second half of the IV century B.C. it seems that this volcano has given rise to violent explosive action and during the succeeding centuries we have news of numerous eruptions.
Eruptive activities, with character of explosions, took place in 43 A.D. and afterwards in 1444, 1550, 1626, 1727-1739, 1771-1786, 1812-1831, 1873-1879 and 1886-1890.
In 1771 there was an intense activity during which there was ejected the riolitic obsidian outflow called Pietre Cotte, which can be seen on the North Western side.
The most recent period of activity began on the 3rd August 1888 and ended on 22nd march 1890. During this eruptive phase there was an ejection of antique and contemporary material of large dimensions and the launching of projectiles which were called "bread-crust" bombs. From that time Vulcano has remained in a fumarolic phase which is limited to the cone of the Fossa and to the interior of its crater.
From 1913 to 1923, from the fumaroles of the external part of cone, there occurred four abundant ejections of liquid sulphur.
Near the large rocks of Porto di Levante one encounters another fumarolic area, between the remains of an ancient volcanic building, for the most part dismantled. In 1915 on the contour of a lavic outflow, at Lentia, other fumaroles were formed which were only shortlived. Also in the three crateric funnels of Vulcanello, up to last century, there occurred a solfataric activity, today completely extinguished. In the fumarolic area of Porto di Levante there are interesting phenomena. In certain tracts the ground is covered by a silical-chalk stratum fractured by small openings. At the point of insertion there arise small cones from the top of which the gases escape with a strong hissing sound.
In those parts there is an extensive swamp where the mud is often thrown on high by the violently escaping gas. During Summer months the ground is covered by a beautiful and variegated colour. It is due to efflorescence (fumarolic sublimations) of ferrous and aluminium sulphate oozing from the ground. These formations disappear with the rain.
Around the rocks and in front of the beach there occurs the typical phenomenon of the gurgling water caused by underwater fumaroles. On the seabed one notices vast deposits of colloidal sulphur in the form of thin flaky filaments which give to the sea a milky aspect. The gas, bursting out, generates numerous bubbles on the surface of the sea. The phenomenon can be seen very well from the height of the rocks when the sea is calm.