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Mount Etna earthquake after incredible images show lava oozing amid explosions

Mount Etna: Lava pours out of volcano as new split appears

Etna, the highest and most active volcano in Europe, has been erupting spectacularly over the past few days. Images have shown lava oozing out of vents, while others show “fireworks” of explosions.

According to volcanic activity tracking site VolcanoDiscovery, “a swarm of small earthquakes” struck under the eastern flank of Etna on Sunday morning.

Magnitudes have tended to measure up to around 2.3 and take place between 10 and 20km underground.

Analysts say the quakes suggest there is a fault zone within the Earth that has been “activated,” though the cause of this is uncertain.

Mt Etna erupting

A shot of an eruption at Mount Etna taken on January 19 this year (Image: Salvatore Allegra / Anadolu Agency / Getty)

It has not been mentioned whether local populations are affected by the quakes, though they are not thought to have been strong.

Boris Behncke, a volcanologist with INGV-Osservatorio Etneo in Sicily, has been tracking the volcano’s activity over the past few weeks.

He said Etna had “unleashed” what is called a paroxysmal eruptive episode on the evening of January 18.

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Mt Etna eruption

A number of earthquakes have occurred near the active volcano recently (Image: Salvatore Allegra / Anadolu Agency / Getty)

Paroxysmal explosions are defined as “particularly violent” eruptions that may come as part of a cycle, or phases.

The analyst uploaded photos to twitter of the event, which saw smoke rising from the volcano’s peak coupled with a fiery orange glow.

Following days have also seen “fireworks” at the mountain. In an update yesterday, Mr Behncke tweeted: “Two more moments of #Etna's activity during the night of January 23-24, 2021.

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Mount Etna in background of city shot

A shot of Gangi town which is located near to Etna on the island of Sicily (Image: Sandro Bisaro / Getty)

“Note that this is very modest, and completely harmless activity taking place at the summit, far away from populated areas.”

Earlier, the volcanologist had said Etna has been “quite active and spectacular at the turn of the year”.

In addition, yesterday morning’s earthquake activity is not the first to have hit the volcano in recent weeks.

Mt Etna eruption

A long-exposure shot of another eruption taking place in December last year (Image: Salvatore Allegra / Anadolu Agency / Getty)

Mr Behncke said there had also been another “conspicuous” swarm which hit the area just before the end of last year.

Etna is located on the island of Sicily above the city of Catania. It is thought that over a quarter of the island’s population live in the volcano’s slopes, which provide both tourism and useful soil for agriculture.

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