Mount Etna Volcano Eruption Spews Glowing Lava On Italian Island Of Sicily, Forces Airport Closure

on October 26 2013 2:37 PM
mt-etna-eruption
Mount Etna volcano on Sicily’s east coast erupted Saturday, spewing lava and sending a towering plume of ash into the air, much like this photo of a Feb. 2012 eruption shows. Reuters

Mount Etna erupted above the Sicilian town of Catania early Saturday morning, spewing lava and sending a plume of ash into the air, the BBC reported. Air traffic at Catania airport was temporarily halted because of the smoke, but no fatalities or injuries have been reported, according to Reuters. Authorities lifted the airport closure before dawn.  

Mount Etna is an active volcano on the east coast of the Italian island of Sicily. At 10,922 feet high at its summit, Mount Etna is Europe’s tallest and most active volcano, and is in a state of almost constant activity. It has erupted regularly for more than 3,500 years. In September of this year, observers reported a series of small and sporadic ash emissions.

In April, authorities reported the 13th “lave-fountaining episode” of 2013, but the last major eruption was in 1992.

The ancient Greeks believed Mount Etna was home to the god of fire, Vulcan. When Mount Etna erupted, they believed Vulcan was simply forging weapons for Mars, the god of war.

A series of underground tremors had been reported the day before. According to the Associated Press, evacuations were not necessary in the several villages that dot the volcano’s slopes, even though there was a lava flow.