Italian Volcano Etna Has Its Third Eruption of 2012


Volcano Etna, Sicily

The Italian volcano Etna, located in on the eastern coast of Sicily, had its third paroxysm of 2012 on March 4th, its first since early February. The new eruption was a relatively short event, which was preceded by 18 days worth of smaller strombolian activity, which are relatively lower-level volcanic eruptions.


Mount Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe, standing at 3,329 m (10,922 ft), and the highest mountain in Italy, south of the Alps. It is by far the largest active volcano in Italy, at about two and a half times the height of the next largest, Mount Vesuvius. Greek mythology says that the monster Typhon was trapped under Etna by Zeus, and the forges of Hephaestus are located underneath it.


The actual eruption lasted only approximately 2 hours, but it produced spectacular explosions, which were heightened by some interaction with snow. A pyroclastic flow was even spotted. The Osservatario Etneo reported that a small lahar was produced during this paroxysm, as a result of snow mixing in with volcanic material.

Air traffic was unaffected by this eruption, but many people captured the event with webcams, smartphones, and other devices.

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