Italy’s Mount Etna volcano is erupting and it has scientists geeking out.
Mount Etna, in Catania, Sicily, is the largest volcano in Europe and also one of the world’s most active. For more than a week in February, the volcano released lava, ash and volcanic rocks, causing Catania Airport to close temporarily as residents claimed it was “raining rocks” according to the Associated Press. Fortunately, despite its close proximity to Catania, the volcano poses no real danger to any inhabitants.
The activity culminated in Mount Etna’s massive eruptions beginning on Feb. 21, 2021. The eruptions were so powerful they were perceptible in space by the European Space Agency (ESA), likely due to the lava it spewed a full kilometer (3,280 feet) into the sky. Although, the molten jets have been as high as 3 kilometers in past. The volcano is still showing signs of activity and ongoing eruption.
“Amazingly tall (more than 1500-meter) lava fountains and spectacular ‘fountain fan’ during Etna’s violent paroxysm during the night,” Boris Behncke, a local volcanologist from Italy’s national Etna Observatory, said on Twitter.
Now volcanologists are eagerly awaiting what Mount Etna will do next. Volcano Discovery, which tracks volcano activity across the globe in real-time, lists Etna’s current status as “erupting.” However, activity has decreased and experts are wondering if the volcano is gearing up to erupt again or just resume its typical state.
“Etna has returned to intermittent mild summit activity,” Volcano Discovery stated. “When this changes, be prepared for another show of fire! What we don’t know from the publicly available data is whether the volcano currently inflates (when pressure builds inside), which would be an indication that the volcano is about to recharge itself. This leaves us with the fun to speculate!”
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