On the Skylab images taken over Mt. Etna in September, 1973, an area with a reduced near-infrared reflectivity was observed in the zone where five months later the lateral eruption of February 1974 took place.
This fact suggested to the authors the working hypothesis that the vegetation was influenced by latent volcanic phenomena. Moreover the intensification of linear features across the same area led to the development of a new point of view in which the vegetation is perceived as a volcanologic transducer.
Ground investigations and thermal-infrared and multispectral surveys performed in July 1974 neither confirmed nor contradicted the first part of the assumption because subsequent paroxysmal phenomena modified the area investigated. The multispectral analysis on the other hand gave a greater emphasis to the correlation between the linear features and the distribution of plants. A more detailed study of this relationship is suggested.