On Sunday night, Mount Etna spewed into life. The eruption sent lava and ash high above the island of Sicily. Whilst the lava flow subsided, ash was still coming from one of the craters.
As a result of the latest Mount Etna eruption, flights to and from the eastern city of Catania were halted. The mayor of Catania has also banned the used of motorcycles and bikes as streets remain coated inn volcanic ash.
Sicily has had a run of troubles regarding the airport, which was partially closed after a fire.
Flights to and from Catania, a popular tourist destination, were set to remain suspended until 6am this morning. According to the Catania airport’s website, flights were departing this morning. Passengers are still advised to check with airlines before heading to the airport.
On Monday, incoming flights were diverted to other parts of the island. With today being the Ferragosto holiday, the height of the Italian holiday season, this couldn’t happen at a worse time.
Was the eruption expected?
There were signals an eruption was imminent, last week. The volcano started emitting gas rings, an extremely rare phenomenon which occurs when gas bubbles are pushed through a narrow shaft in the volcano. This causes a rotational movement of the margins of the puff of gas, making it acquire a ring shape.
Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe. It erupts frequently, and has done so for the last half a million years. The last major eruption was in 1992. However, Catania airport is often closed when there is an eruption.