Mount Etna erupts in Italy; air traffic interrupted

Mount Etna

Mount Etna has erupted several times in the past. Image: Wikimedia Commons

In Italy, Mount Etna has erupted for the first time since 2002. The eruption sent lava down the side of the mountain for two hours. Mount Etna is the most active volcano in Europe.

Mount Etna eruption

The eruption of Mount Etna started late Wednesday evening in Italy. For about two hours, the volcano sent ash into the sky and lava down the Eastern edge of the mountain. Nobody was injured in the eruption of Mount Etna, and no major earthquakes have been reported in connection with the eruption. The eruption of Mount Etna was a relatively minor, and the most striking thing to result from it is the rare imagery captured of the glowing lava.

Air traffic delayed by Mount Etna

Though the lava load of Mount Etna was relatively small, the ash and hot gasses released by the volcano did cause problems. The falling ash caused the Catania Fontanarossa airport to shut down for a short period of time. This caused several domestic flights to be rerouted or delayed. The Mount Etna eruption threw ash into the air that will continue falling for a few days. The plume of sulfur dioxide is being carried over the Mediterranean Sea.

Active Mount Etna

Mount Etna is Europe’s tallest and most active volcano. Mount Etna is part of a nature reserve, and the eruptions rarely cause damage to people or to property. The ancient Greeks considered Mount Etna to be the home of Vulcan, God of fire, which is how volcanoes got their English name. Authorities do not believe that Mount Etna’s eruptions will cause any further problems with air traffic, though travel to the mountain is restricted. Video footage from Mount Etna’s 2002 eruption was included in the 2005 film “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.”

Watch Mount Etna’s eruption

Sources

MSNBC
NPR

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