Mount Etna puts on fiery show in Si­cily

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - Rus­sell Gold­man

In a fiery re­minder of its pres­ence and its power, Mount Etna roared to life this week on the is­land of Si­cily, Italy, send­ing red-hot foun­tains of molten rock and ash high into the air and down the slopes of Europe’s largest and most ac­tive vol­cano.

The lat­est erup­tion, which be­gan Mon­day and is ex­pected to last at least sev­eral more days, could be seen for miles.

Mount Etna’s fre­quent erup­tions have been watched and feared for thou­sands of years. An es­pe­cially large one in the 17th cen­tury changed the shape of Si­cily’s coast­line with a huge out­pour­ing of lava. More re­cent out­bursts have tended to be smaller but still dan­ger­ous enough to prompt evac­u­a­tions of nearby vil­lages and dis­rupt air traf­fic with plumes of smoke and ash.

By Tues­day, Ital­ian au­thor­i­ties said the lat­est erup­tion posed no fur­ther dan­ger to towns that dot the moun­tain’s slopes, and flights in and out of the clos­est air­port in Cata­nia, Italy, were oper­at­ing nor­mally again.

A big erup­tion in 1981 de­stroyed 12,350 acres of vine­yards and woods, as well as scores of ru­ral homes and va­ca­tion vil­las.

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