Science

Europe's Mt. Etna Erupts In A Stunning Light Display

By Donna Bellevue , Mar 01, 2017 12:33 AM EST
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Europe shows Mt. Etna to the whole world this week as one of the most active volcanoes erupted for the first time this year, creating a stunning display of light over the Italian island of Sicily. First becoming active on Jan. 23, the popular volcano has experienced a series of eruptions ever since. The latest lava-spewing event began this week, lasting for days or even weeks, but officials assure the public that it is no danger to the residents on the mountain.

Red-hot, sparkling lava shoots into the sky in a spectacular display of fluid light. At 10,900 feet high, Mount Etna is the highest volcano in continental Europe, and has been largely free of eruptions over the past two years. The Sicilian landmark's last major eruption was in 1992.

During that eruption, Europe's Mt. Etna threatened to overtake a Sicilian village with its flowing lava. A team of U.S. marines lent a hand during the aptly named Operation Volcano Buster, dropping concrete blocks at the edge of the lava tunnel to plug the hole. It was reportedly an easy mission, the Mashable reports.

Coming to life again on Monday evening, with bright orange lava spewing from its 3,330m-high peak, it's light display is the most stunning it has ever been. The lava and ash cloud could be largely seen from the Sicilian city of Catania and the resort town of Taormina. At Catania, about 31 miles away from the mountain, the airport remained open and flights continue as authorities say there is no real danger, the Sky News reports.

Although practically safe, Europe's Mt. Etna can still cause accidents with its ash cloud, so officials say that they are tracking it. This Sicilian landmark boasts one of the world's longest documented records of historical eruptions, dating back to at least 1,500 B.C.E. Smaller volcanic bursts have regularly occurred in recent years.

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