After reports of mysterious mass animal deaths around the planet, photos of a fierce volcanic eruption might confirm that the end of the world is nigh.
Thankfully, these magnificent pictures of Mount Etna’s latest eruption are merely a chance to revel in the awesome power of nature rather than a reason to start stocking up on canned goods.
The 3,329-metre (10,922-feet) volcano erupted for around an hour yesterday evening, lighting up the Sicilian sky and providing amazing scenery for the village of Milo, just 12 kilometres away.
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Fire in the hole: Mount Etna spews lava on the southern Italian island of Sicily yesterday evening
Etna is Europe’s tallest and most active volcano and has seen increased activity in recent months yet its seismic might poses no immediate threat to the nearby towns and cities.
According to the Italian Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, a slight increase in Etna’s volcanic tremors had been recorded on Tuesday, reaching its peak at 7am local time yesterday.
The activity diminished but at 9:30pm local time on Wednesday night, Etna roared into life sending lava spewing down its sides.
Plumes rose up in the sky
Eruption: Lava cascades down the slopes of Mount Etna after its latest activity
‘Shortly after [9pm] an overflow began from the edge of the east pit crater,’ a statement from the institute said last night.
While the Sicilian communities near the volcano were not threatened by the latest eruption, it has not been established whether an ash cloud has been created by Etna’s new activity.
‘The emission of volcanic ash is possible,’ a spokesperson for the institute added.
The eruption was a strombolian explosion from the active pit crater on the east flank of the Southeast Crater cone of Etna
Living on the edge: The Sicilian sky is illuminated by Mount Etna’s evening eruption
Large stones, known as volcanic ‘bombs’, and a sizeable quantity of ash was released by the volcano earlier this month, though no lava was released on that occasion.
Known as ‘Jebel Utlamat’ in Arabic – meaning ‘mountain of fire – Etna’s name is thought to originate from the Phoenician word ‘attuna’, meaning ‘furnace’.
The volcano has been active for around half a million years, with 15,000 people killed during its most violent eruption in 1669.
While its modern eruptions have rarely threatened the inhabited areas in the volcano’s vicinity, a lengthy blast in 2002 was spectacular enough for footage of it to be included in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
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