Mount Etna, the largest and most active volcano in Europe, has erupted again. Molten lava was shot high into the air and thick plumes of smoke and ash covered the Sicilian countryside.
This Mount Etna eruption was caught on camera from Acireale, near Cantania, resulting in some spectacular shots of the hot lava spewing from the Earth's core.
This is the sixteenth paroxysmal eruption recorded this year - but. fortunately, did not endanger any of the villages situated on the slopes of the mountain. Mount Etna's last major eruption occurred in 1992
Nevertheless, Cantania Airport Control has been forced to close airspace above Mount Etna. They are afraid that the vast ash clouds could be hazardous to aircraft. Volcanic ash can potentially melt and coat moving parts with a layer of glass, which causes the planes' engines to shut down.
Mount Etna is 10,925 feet (3,300 meters) tall and is constantly active. It is still growing, and has been for 500,000 years, when eruptions began.
The Mount Etna volcano came into existence almost one million years ago and has been well-documented since 1500 BC, when its eruptions forced people to leave. There have been more than 200 eruptions since then, varying from tiny to catastrophic.
In 122 BC, the force of Etna's explosion spewed so much ash onto the town of Catania that the town's inhabitants were exempted from paying taxes to Rome for ten years. The most powerful eruption until now, was in 1669, when the eruption destroyed part of the summit and the lava flows reached the sea more than ten miles away.
In 1852 an extremely strong eruption produced more than 2 billion cubic feet of lava and covered more than three square miles of the volcano's base. The longest eruption began in 1979 and went on for thirteen years.
Etna's constant activity It has been a serious concern for Sicily - since more than 25 per cent of the island's population living on Etna's slopes.
Ironically, the Mount Etna volcano is also the main source of income for the island due to its attraction for tourists.
For spectacular images of the eruption - watch:
photo:marco restivo demotix