Sicily: the spectacular eruption of Mount Etna

December 5, 2015

On December 3th, Mount Etna surprised everyone in what is considered the most “energetic” eruption of the past 20 years. Fire and how ash spewed high into the sky in a dramatic, spectacular fashion and the pictures are now traveling the world.

Mount Etna is not only one of the most famous volcanoes on the planet, but also Europe’s highest active volcano: its last eruption threw up an ash column 7 kilometers high, with lava flowing from the voragine crater. It was the first time in two years and the entire event was witnessed and examined by the National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology (INGV).

Of course, flights were disrupted at the closest airports - Catania and Reggio Calabria - in order to maintain security.

The activity in the crater began on Thursday with Strombolian eruptions, which are short-lived, explosive outbursts of lava, and intensified on Friday, the INGV said. The volcano’s explosions have grown to a new peak with lava, magma, ash and gas elevating to at least 7 kilometers above the summit of the volcano with prevailing winds that the INGV said are still weak.

Luckily, the eruption was considered to be non-threatening to the 900,000 residents in the area who were, in turn, treated with an amazing spectacle: Mount Etna is, in fact, capable of giving rise to highly explosive activities and behaves like a sleepy living creatures, yawning and turning from time to time.

In the picture: Mount Etna erupts on December 3, 2015. MARCO RESTIVO/DEMOTIX/CORBIS (source Wired).

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