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Mount Etna releases gigantic ash cloud over Sicily

A very different white Christmas! Mount Etna erupts and releases a gigantic ash cloud over Sicily as residents flock to the mountainside to capture stunning shots

  • Italy’s Mount Etna – the largest active volcano in Europe – has been erupting throughout December 
  • It is in an near constant state of activity but its relatively frequent eruptions very rarely affect civilians 
  • Residents and tourists near the volcano took to social media to share incredible photographs and videos 

Europe’s largest and most active volcano is spewing columns of smoke and sending lava cascading down its mountainside during its latest eruption.    

Mount Etna, which looms above the city of Catania in Sicily, has been steadily erupting over the last month, with hoards of people heading to the volcano to capture stunning photographs and video of molten rock lighting up its snowy slopes. 

Etna, or ‘Mongibello’, erupts frequently but rarely poses a threat to humans. According to the website Volcano Discovery, its historical volcanism has been documented for around 2000 years, dating back to 1500BC. 

At almost 11,000 ft, Etna is Italy’s highest point south of the Alps and Europe’s highest active volcano, being about two and a half times the height of Mount Vesuvius, near Naples.   

It is also the second most productive volcano on the planet, after Kilauea on Hawaii. Each year, the 700,000-year old and 24-mile wide volcano produces enough lava to fill a 108-story skyscrapers, spewing tonnes of molten rock across the island of Sicily. 

A huge black smoke cloud rises from the active volcano Mount Etna near the city of Catania in Sicily, Italy on December 24

Smoke rises over the city of Catania during an eruption of the Mount Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in the world on December 24, 2018

Mount Etna or Mongibello has over the last few weeks been shooting clouds of ash and column into the air during on of its frequent eruptions 

Mt Etna – Europe’s largest and most active volcano – is emitting a huge cloud of smoke into the sky above Sicily 


Locals uploaded photographs of the smoke column coming out of the Etna volcano in Catania, Italy to social media on Monday, December 24, 2018

The Mount Etna observatory says lava and ash are spewing from a new fracture on the active Sicilian volcano amid an unusually high level of seismic activity

Mount Etna is in an near constant state of activity but its relatively frequent eruptions very rarely affect civilians 

According to the website Volcano Discovery, Etna’s historical volcanism has been documented for around 2000 years, dating back to 1500BC

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    A man takes a photo of a rising plume of smoke coming from Etna volcano in Catania, December 24 2018. An eruptive fracture opened this morning on Mount Etna at the base of the southeast crater, where explosive activity continues

    more videos

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      • Watch video

        Dramatic aerial footage of the Krakatoa eruption in Indonesia


      • Watch video

        Smoke spews out of Krakatoa after eruption reportedly caused tsunami


      • Watch video

        Teenage Meghan put on scene-stealing performance at Christmas show


      • Watch video

        Dramatic footage shows thick black smoke rise from Mount Etna


      • Watch video

        ‘Volcano tsunami’ called Krakatoa erupts killing more than 200 people


      • Watch video

        Horrifying moment person is swept away by Indonesia tsunami


      • Watch video

        Dramatic moment stage collapses as tsunami hits Indonesian beaches


      • Watch video

        Moment men run as large wave hits coastal town in Indonesia


      • Watch video

        Krakatoa volcano erupts in Indonesia before ‘causing tsunami’


      • Watch video

        Hotel left ravaged by floodwater following tsunami in Indonesia


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      Residents in the nearby Sicilian city of Catania have been posting photographs of the impressive phenomenon on social media

      What is Mount Etna, how tall is it and how old is it? 

      Etna, at 3,330 metres (10,926 feet), is the highest volcano in mainland Europe.

      The volcano is one of the most active in the world and the most active in Europe.

      The 700,000-year-old volcano is a huge 24 miles wide and is virtually active constantly. 

      It produces around 7 million tonnes of CO2, water and sulphur dioxide every year. 

      In 2011, it spewed nearly 70 million tonnes of lava. 

      The last time Etna posed a serious threat to villages on its slopes was in 1992, when lava streams headed towards Zafferana, a town of 7,000 people.

      In a spectacular operation, Italian and US soldiers used controlled explosions to divert the flow.  

       

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