Sicily′s Mount Etna spews ash from new fracture | News | DW | 24.12.2018
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Sicily's Mount Etna spews ash from new fracture

The active volcano on the Italian island of Sicily has spewed ash amid unusually high seismic activity. Airspace around the mountain has been partially closed and hikers have been brought down for their safety.

Lava and ash continued to spew from a new fracture on Mount Etna, Europe's biggest active volcano, on Tuesday.

More than 130 seismic shocks were recorded the day earlier, with the strongest reaching a magnitude of 4.3, according to Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV).

The ash came from a new fracture which opened near Mount Etna's southeast crater

The ash came from a new fracture which opened near Mount Etna's southeast crater

Hikers in danger

"The eruption occurred on the side of Etna," said Boris Behncke, a vulcanologist at INGV. "It's the first lateral eruption in more than 10 years, but it doesn't seem to be dangerous."

There were no immediate reports of injuries or disruption to local residents.

Hikers were brought down from higher elevations to 1,900 meters (6,230 feet) for their safety.

Flights were restricted to just four landings an hour at the nearby airport at Catania on Monday because of poor visibility, but full operations resumed on Tuesday.

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The smoke drifted far into the sky, causing flights to be delayed

The smoke drifted far into the sky, causing flights to be delayed

Read more: If you live near one of these volcanos, move!

Etna's eruptions

Etna formed some 500,000 years ago off the ancient coastline of Sicily. It usually experiences small eruptions every few months.

The mountain stands 3,300 meters (3,609 yards) high.

Its most recent eruptions occurred in August and in the Spring of 2017, resulting in a spectacular light and ash show.

The last major eruption was in the 2008/2009 winter.

Mount Etna was granted UNESCO heritage status in 2013.

kw/jm (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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