Mount Etna, on the Italian island of Sicily, which has been largely dormant for the past two years, erupts for the first time this year. It sent a plume of fire and ash into the sky, several kilometers high. Volcanic ash clouds can cause flight disruption but the airport in Catania operated notmally on Monday.. Giant orange fountains of lava could be seen in Catania. Authorities said no danger to the towns. Volcanic tremor is currently moderate to high. A total of almost 40 quakes of magnitudes of up to 3.8 have been recorded. The volcano continues to show beautiful and sometimes quite spectacular strombolian activity. Etna covers an area of 1,190 km2 (459 sq mi) with a basal circumference of 140 km (87 miles).
Mount Etna is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and is in an almost constant state of activity. Volcanic activity first took place at Etna about 500,000 years ago. From about 35,000 to 15,000 years ago, Etna experienced some highly explosive eruptions. The most recent collapse event at the summit of Etna is thought to have occurred about 2,000 years ago. Major 20th-century eruptions occurred in 1949, 1971, 1979, 1981, 1983 and 1991–1993. In 1971, lava buried the Etna Observatory (built in the late 19th century), destroyed the first generation of the Etna cable-car, and seriously threatened several small villages on Etna’s east flank. Etna is one of Sicily’s main tourist attractions, with thousands of visitors every year.