Etna awakes with storm of fire and lava

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Etna awakes with storm of fire and lava

Post by OpenMind » ... w_18072006

Etna awakes with storm of fire and lava

By Malcolm Moore, Rome Correspondent

(Filed: 18/07/2006)

Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe, threw fire and rocks more than 800ft into the air yesterday.

Etna, which is almost 11,000ft high, sits 18 miles from Catania on Sicily's east coast. Several villages lie on its lower slopes, but the Italian government said yesterday that the lava was flowing away from them, and that there was no immediate danger.

The explosions are coming from two holes near to the top of the volcano, creating a lava field more than a mile long which is flowing at a rate faster than 90 cubic feet a minute. Even though the eruption has continued for three days, scientists said it had lost little of its force.

Etna is in an almost constant state of activity, but is not considered particularly dangerous and its slopes are home to farms and vineyards that make use of the rich volcanic soil. The last major eruption was in 2002.

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2006.

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