Mount Etna erupted with 11km-high column

By Region News The Islands

Mount Etna sent another plume of lava and ashy smoke into the Sicilian sky today. The sky above Catania was thick with smoke and the airport closed at lunchtime until further notice.

This was the latest in a string of eruptions from Europe’s tallest active volcano. The lava flow from the volcano was centred around the crater on the mountain’s south-east slope, said officials.

There were no reports of injuries or property damage on the inhabited towns on the slopes of the volcano.

A southeastern breeze took the high and dense column of lavic ash across the eastern Sicilian city of Catania, forcing the airport to close.

Lapilli (rock fragments) also fell onto a number of smaller towns and villages on Etna’s southern slopes including Nicolosi, Trecastagni, Pedara, Aci Sant’Antonio and San Gregorio.

New lava flow

The volcano also emitted a fresh lava flow, experts said. Though, by Monday afternoon, the lava flow from the crater had stopped.

Volcanology institute INGV said it was the latest “paroxysm” in Etna’s new phase of volcanic activity, which began a year ago.

The INGV recently said it had found the “beating heart” of the volcano which is fuelling the activity. It also said, “the energy inside the volcano is increasing”. 

Earlier in February, a particularly powerful eruption sent bolts of lightning dramatically across the sky over eastern Sicily.

Etna is Europe’s most active volcano, producing enough lava every year to fill a 108-story skyscraper. In August last year, Italy’s volcano monitoring agency said Mount Etna had grown in height to a record 11,013ft.

Experts said the southeast and youngest crater was now much higher than its ‘older brother’, the northeast crater.

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