Mount Etna has started blow-ing ash from one of its main craters but the latest bout of activity should not endanger local residents, experts said last week. The spectacular, 5,000 metre-high plume of ash could be seen for miles around spraying the countryside, local towns and the nearby city of Catania.
Civil Defence chief Guido Bertolaso has flown to the area to keep a closer eye on the situation. Catania Airport has so far been un-scathed but has been placed on alert because the volcanic cloud becomes ‘invisible’ when night falls. So far, there has been no trace of magma in the particles that have fallen to earth, experts said. The edges of the south-west crater started to crumble in late October and soon after the crater started belching black smoke. Meanwhile, flows of lava from fissures that opened up on the volcano’s eastern flank last month were continuing to stop at high altitude, the experts said. The eruption has given little cause for concern unlike other recent re-awakenings of Europe’s most active volcano.