The highest – and one of the most active – volcano in Europe, Mount Etna, is hosting the Photographers’ Festival this week, with jets that throw lava up to 1,500 meters and produce gigantic clouds of orange smoke.
A postcard from Sicily, Italy, Mount Etna is 3,300 meters long and has been recorded for 2,700 years. The last major eruption was in 1992, and one of the most violent, in 1789 – when the lava sources reached 3000 meters in height. Despite the spectacle – which reportedly made the nights clear – it was less destructive than that of 1669, when dozens of towns were covered in lava, which covered about 30 km and reached the coast.
“It is certainly the strongest explosion in the southern crater which was discovered in 1971. We have not seen these strong explosions for years, but for the moment, there is no risk for the population, other that the smoke which can create respiratory problems for a few hours, and ash covers the buildings and the streets ”, declared the volcanologist Marco Neri, of the INGV (Italian national institute of geophysics and volcanology) to the British newspaper Guardian.
During this year’s eruption, ash has already reached the city of Catania, 57 kilometers south of the crater, and halted air traffic.
The spectacular images are in fact the result of an activity deemed “normal” by specialists for a volcano which expels what they call primitive magma – which comes from deeper layers and contains more gas, which causes flare-ups. higher lava.
The most recent eruption began in early February, accompanied by tremors, and was recorded by European Space Agency satellites. This week’s protest started at 10 p.m. Monday (10 p.m. local time, 6 p.m. in Brazil).
The longest eruption on record began in July 1614 and lasted ten years, spewing enough lava to cover 21 square kilometers (an area larger than that of the Fernando de Noronha archipelago).