The Gulf Today - Panorama - - HAVE YOU HEARD? -

Europe’s big­gest ac­tive vol­cano is slip­ping into the ocean, and it’s feared the re­cent dis­cov­ery could trig­ger a tsunami.

Sci­en­tists are con­cerned the slow move­ments that have been mea­sured on Mount Etna’s south­east­ern flank could es­ca­late and re­sult in part of it col­laps­ing into the wa­ter.

Such an event would put neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties in Si­cily at risk as de­bris en­ters the sur­round­ing ocean, pos­si­bly caus­ing dev­as­tat­ing waves. How­ever, re­searchers mon­i­tor­ing the site say all they can do for now is

“keep an eye” on the ac­tive vol­cano as there is no way of telling whether this ac­cel­er­a­tion will come within years or cen­turies.

Care­ful mon­i­tor­ing of the seafloor around the site has re­vealed that Etna’s grad­ual slid­ing move­ments af­fected a far wider area — a find­ing the sci­en­tists say in­creases the risk of “cat­a­strophic col­lapse.”

There are his­toric ac­counts of such col­lapses hap­pen­ing on smaller vol­ca­noes, but the ge­o­log­i­cal record has ev­i­dence of it af­fect­ing large ar­eas in Hawaii and the Ca­nary Is­lands mil­lions of years ago.

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