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Mount Etna Erupts, Peppers Towns with Ash

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Europe’s most active volcano, Mount Etna, erupted Saturday, showering pyroclastic detritus on towns around the mountain’s slopes and the nearby comune of Taormina. The eruption didn’t call for any evacuations, though an area highway was shut down for 30 minutes, as a safety measure. Air traffic was also restricted in four air corridors around nearby Catania Airport.

Mount Etna is a stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, Italy, near the towns of Messina and Catania. It is the tallest active volcano on the European continent, at give or take 10,922 ft (the elevation changes with each new eruption), and lies above the convergent plate margin between the African Plate and the Eurasian Plate. Mount Etna is likewise the highest mountain in Italy, anywhere south of the Alps.

Mount Etna erupts sporadically, with its last major event occurring in 2002, which could be seen from space. An eruption in 1928 wiped out the village of Mascali, with the lava destroying almost every building. Below is an image of the 2002 Etna eruption, taken from the International Space Station:

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No one was hurt in the latest Mount Etna event, and some spectacular footage was captured of the eruption:

In related news, a new volcanic island has formed off the coast of Japan, after an undersea volcano erupted near Iwo Jima, which is part of the Ogasawara Islands chain. Though, volcanologists have pointed out that the new land mass is not quite yet an actual island. “It’s a matter of if it’s going to break apart. It’s made of a big pile of rocks. If they aren’t stuck together very well they will erode and break down,” according to Darcy Ogden, a professor at University of California San Diego.

More media concerning the Mount Etna eruption:

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Mount Etna Erupts, Peppers Towns with Ash
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