Sunday, July 21, 2019

Significant volcanic activity in Italy

Italy's Etna volcano erupts on Sicily, disrupting flights

Italy's Mount Etna began spewing hot ash and lava overnight, forcing authorities to close two airports in eastern Sicily. Experts detected "lively spattering" at the volcano last month.
Lava flows on Mount Etna
Europe's biggest active volcano, Mount Etna, erupted early Saturday with fiery explosions and lava flows, the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) said.
Plumes of ash prompted authorities on the island of Sicily to close the Fontanarossa and Comiso Airports in the city of Catania, local media reported.
La Repubblica newspaper said a Ryanair flight from Rome was diverted to Palermo on Friday night, while several flights were delayed from landing or taking off on Saturday.
Smoke above Mount Etna
Mount Etna is Europe's largest active volcano
Delays expected
Airport authorities said flights had returned to normal at 11 a.m. local time (0900 UTC), but stressed that there may still be disruptions and delays.
According to the INGV, the lava was spurting from one of the craters on the volcano's desert-like southeastern face, and then traveling around 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) down a barren escarpment called the Valle del Bove (Ox Valley).
The most recent Etna activity follows an eruption in December as well as "lively spattering" recorded by the institute in June.
At 3,300 meters (10,826 feet), Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe.

Tourist killed in volcanic blast on Italian island of Stromboli

A volcano on the Italian island of Stromboli has killed at least one tourist, after two particularly powerful explosions. A huge plume of smoke could be seen over the island afterwards.
Residents and tourists on Stromboli were evacuated on Wednesday after two powerful explosions rocked the tiny island.
Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) said it recorded the explosions on the central-southern side of the volcano's crater at 12:46 p.m. (1446 UTC).
Before the explosions, lava spills had been observed "from all the active mouths of the crater terrace," the INGV said. The discharged produced a two-kilometer (1.25-mile) high plume of smoke.
"It was like being in hell because of the rain of fire coming from the sky," Italian news agencies quoted local priest Giovanni Longo as saying.
Longo said it was not clear if any hikers had been on the volcano at the time of the eruption. The volcanic explosions also led to fires around the village of Ginostra.
Hiker reported killed
However, at least one tourist — an Italian who was hiking with a Brazilian walking partner  — was reported to have been killed. The partner was found in a state of dehydration and shock.
Efforts to extinguish blazes using a firefighting plane were hampered by the large amount of smoke.
Although the volcano is known to be active, the two explosions on Wednesday were said to have been particularly powerful. Italian media reported that some tourists had fled into the sea, while others barricaded themselves into homes.
The presence of an active volcano on the island means it is a magnet for tourists who visit from early spring each year.
A previous huge eruption, in December 2002, caused a tidal wave after magma from a particularly violent discharge poured into the sea.
At that time, access to the island was forbidden to outsiders for more than a month amid the risk of further landslides.
Most of the island's population left for the Aeolian island administrative center of Lipari.
Stromboli became famous after a 1950 film of the same name by Roberto Rossellini that starred Ingrid Bergman.
Early last month, the INGV reported that nearby Mount Etna, on the island of Sicily, had burst into life with lava pouring from two eruptive fissures. The volcano last erupted in December.

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