martes, 18 de enero de 2011
Mount Etna Erupts Overnight
Towering nearly 11,000 feet (3,350 meters) over the island of Sicily, Europe's tallest and most active volcano began trembling Tuesday afternoon, seismologists told the OurAmazingPlanet news site. Wednesday and Thursday saw flames and ash flung hundreds of yards into the sky, closing down area airports.Lava heads for the sea as Mount Etna erupts Wednesday night on Sicily.
Though spectacular, this week's lava fountains aren't exactly a surprise. "We expected Etna to return to activity in this period," volcanologist Boris Behncke told OurAmazingPlanet. "There had been lots of premonitory signals."
The vent that spewed the lava pictured had out on smaller shows around Christmas and New Year's, Behncke added.Lava pours from a pit crater high up Mount Etna Wednesday night. Despite its nearly constant activity, the Sicilian volcano rarely causes harm, since its eruptions occur so high up and its lava moves relatively slowly.
Photograph by Gabriel Bouys, AFP/Getty Images
Lava from normally harmless Mount Etna sears a street and edges blisteringly close to a restaurant near the Sicilian city of Nicolosi in July 2001.
Mount Etna's most destructive eruption in history went on for four months in 1669, singeing a dozen villages, breaking through Catania's city walls, and finally steaming to a standstill in the sea.