ROME (AP) – Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, has wowed even experienced volcanologists in recent days with spectacular lava jets that light up the Sicilian sky every night.
The last eruption overnight died down around 0900 GMT on Tuesday, according to Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology.
For more than a week, Etna has been spewing lava, ash and volcanic rocks on a regular basis. The nearby Catania airport was temporarily closed and residents of the city of Pedara said it looked like one day last week as if it were raining rocks while a thick layer of ash covered the city.
The volcanologist Boris Behncke, from the Etna Observation Center of the National Institute, has followed the latest paroxysms with astonishment. Writing on the institute’s website this week, he said that after “gifting us with moments of suspense” during the previous nights, Etna finally exploded in a way that “those of us who have worked on this for decades have rarely seen.”
Referring to the overnight activity, he tweeted on Tuesday: “Did I say the #Etna paroxysm of February 20-21 is ‘incredibly powerful’? Well, his successor, on the night of February 22-23, was MUCH more powerful. ”
So far, there have been no reports of damage or injuries.