Italy's Mount Etna erupts, closing Sicily's Catania Airport

Извержение крупнейшего вулкана напугало даже космонавтов

Извержение крупнейшего вулкана напугало даже космонавтов

Lava and ash are spewing from a new fracture on Italy's Mount Etna amid an unusually high level of seismic activity at the Sicilian volcano, according to observatory officials. Following the eruption, a huge column of ash and black clouds of smoke covered the sky prompting the closure of Catania airport on Sicily's eastern coast.

"The eruption occurred on the side of Etna", Boris Behncke, a vulcanologist at INGV, told French Press Agency (AFP).

Located in Sicily, the 3,350m volcano's eruption occured amid more than 130 earthquakes of up to 4.3 in magnitude.

Video footage from 2,500m (8,200 ft) up the volcano showed how quickly the ash spread.

Извержение крупнейшего вулкана напугало даже космонавтов
Lava, ash spew from new fracture on Italy's Mount Etna

A chain of around 130 tremors have rocked the volcano since around 9am on Monday, Italy's National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology said.

Catania airport said later that the airspace had been reopened to allow four planes to land per hour, before confirming it would return to normal operation by 20:00 local time (19:00 GMT). It reported lava flows from the volcano and said a new fracture had opened near its southeast crater. The last major eruption happened in 1992.

The INGV said in August that the volcano had "grown faster than ever before" over the past few years, even though it often erupts.

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