Even Seasoned Volcanologists Are Floored by Etna

Spectacular spurts of lava have been lighting up the Sicilian sky each night
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 23, 2021 5:10 PM CST
What's Happening on Etna Is Truly Awesome
The moon is partially seen in the sky as lava flows from the Mt Etna volcano, near Catania in Sicily, southern Italy, early Tuesday, Feb. 23 , 2021. The explosion started before midnight on Monday night, provoking a huge eruption plume that rose for several kilometers from the top of Etna.   (AP Photo/Salvatore Allegra)

Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, has awed even seasoned volcanologists in recent days with spectacular spurts of lava lighting up the Sicilian sky each night. The latest eruption overnight petered out by around 4am EST Tuesday, according to Italy’s National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology. For over a week, Etna has been belching lava, ash, and volcanic rocks on a regular basis. The nearby Catania Airport closed temporarily, and residents of the town of Pedara said it appeared one day last week as if it were raining rocks as a thick blanket of ash covered the town, reports the AP.

Volcanologist Boris Behncke of the national institute’s Etna observation center has followed the latest paroxysms with awe. Writing on the institute’s website this week, he said that after "gifting us moments of suspense" over the previous nights, Etna finally erupted in a way "those of us who have worked in this for decades have rarely seen." Referring to the activity overnight, he tweeted Tuesday: "Did I call the 20-21 February paroxysm of #Etna 'incredibly powerful'? Well, its successor, in the night of 22-23 February, was MUCH more powerful." So far, there have been no reports of damage or injuries.

(Read more volcano stories.)

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