New Etna eruption in Italy

Mount Etna blasted a massive 12-kilometer-high (7.5-mile) pillar of volcanic ash into the sky over Italian island of Sicily on Monday 21st February, 2022. Researchers from Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) in Catania say activity centered on a lava flow on the mountain’s southeast slope. Ash from the eruption covered nearby towns according to Italy’s Civil Protection Agency but there have been no immediate reports of injuries or property damage.

Etna’s volcanic activity has been well-documented throughout history. Perhaps its most-devastating eruption occurred in 1669, when lava consumed dozens of villages and proceeded to bury large sections of Catania, the biggest city in the eastern part of the island. Earlier this February, a particularly powerful eruption spewed geysers of lava rocketing forth into the night sky over Sicily and the mountain has remained highly active ever since.

INGV scientists have recorded a gradual uptick in seismic tremors caused by escaping gases, which they say could be an indication that Etna is heading toward another spectacular burst of fiery lava fountaining, or paroxysmal volcanic activity. Experts at INGV believe the eruption was caused by an accumulation of magma, noting that the same situation occurred about a year ago, albeit with more magma buildup. By October, Etna had erupted another 50 times.

By: Awale Basit, KNUST (Obuasi)

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