Watch The Majestic Eruption Spew Out of Sicily’s Mount Etna

Mount Etna spewed smoke and ashes last night in a spectacular new eruption which caused flights to be cancelled.

The eruption at the southeastern crater began late on Tuesday afternoon and sent columns of ash rising more than 3,000ft into the air.

Small stones and dirt raining from the sky caused officials to close Catania’s airport, while emergency services in the nearby villages of Linguaglossa, Fornazzo and Milo were on alert.

Footage taken by locals showed smoke glowing red and yellow stretching for miles across the evening sky as red-hot lava poured from the snow-capped summit.

Experts classified the eruption as Strombolian activity, a moderate eruption with continuous but relatively mild blasts and a shower of incandescent cinders, rocks and lava fragments.

The most extreme form of volcanic activity, Plinian eruptions, are characterised by explosive outbursts generating a dense mixture of gas and volcanic fragments that move at tremendous speed.

A Plinian eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD buried Pompeii and Herculaneum under a blanket of ash.

At nearly 11,000 feet tall and 24 miles wide, Etna is the largest volcano in Europe.

The 700,000-year-old volcano is also the second most active on Earth, after Hawaii’s Mount Kilauea.

Situated between the African and Eurasian tectonic plates, it generates nearly constant eruptions of varying degrees.

Each year it produces more than tens of million tons of lava and over 7 million tons of carbon dioxide, water and sulfur dioxide.

It’s most severe recent eruption occurred in March of 2017, when nearly a dozen people were injured.

But eruptions have been recorded as far back as 1500 BC, with a devastating eruption in 1169 causing an earthquake that killed an estimated 15,000 people.

In 1992, lava streaming down its slope threatened Zafferana, a town of 7,000, in what’s thought to be the most voluminous flank eruption in 300 years.

Soldiers used controlled explosions to divert the lava flow.

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