Mount Etna emits smoke rings on 6th April 2024

Mount Etna blows ‘smoke rings’

By Region News The Islands

Mount Etna, on Sicily, recently showcased a rare phenomenon – the release of volcanic vortex rings, or ‘smoke rings’.

On 6th April, tourists witnessed plumes of smoke rising from the summit, some of which formed into distinct rings. However, these rings aren’t composed of smoke but are instead a mixture of gases, primarily water vapour, escaping from the magma beneath the Earth’s surface.

Volcanologist Dr. Boris Behncke, a volcanologist from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Catani, explained these rings form when hot volcanic gases escape from the vent in short pulses.

Watch the smoke rings from Mount Etna

Multiple rings blown from Mount Etna are extremely rare and require specific conditions, including a circular volcanic vent and a calm atmosphere. Despite being documented before, such events are uncommon.

What kind of volcano is Mount Etna?

Located on Sicily’s eastern coast, Mount Etna is the highest Mediterranean island mountain and is renowned as the most active stratovolcano globally.

Stratovolcanoes, characterised by their steep sides and cone-shaped appearance, form from thick lava building up around the vent. Etna has been erupting frequently for over 3,500 years, making it a significant geological feature. Last August, Etna’s eruption resulted in the closure of Catania’s airport.

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