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Stunning Image: Etna's Newest Lava Flow

Mount Etna's newest lava flow
Mount Etna's newest lava flow from it's most recent eruption contrasts against the white snow blanketing the mountain. (Image credit: Boris Behncke)

A newly minted black lava flow runs down the side of Sicily's Mount Etna after the active volcano's most recent eruption earlier this month.

The lava stands in stark contrast to the white snowfall that has blanketed the summit during the recent weeks of Europe's extreme cold snap .

The new flow emanated from the volcano's New Southeast Crater cone.

"The lava flow initially advanced slowly through the deep notch in the southeastern (near) rim of the crater and then toward the steep slope, which is the western headwall of the Valle del Bove, a huge collapse depression in the east flank of the mountain," said photographer Boris Behncke who works at the INGV-Osservatorio Etneo in Catania, Italy, which monitors Etna's activities. "Once it reached the slope, it accelerated and reached the base of the slope toward the end of the paroxysm, but continued to expand."

Once the flow reached terrain with a gentler slope, it began to branch out, stopping about 2 miles (3 kilometers) shy of the crater, Behncke said on his Flickr page .

Behncke also took spectacular photos of the eruption that created the lava flow, which can be seen glowing red at night in those earlier images.

Live Science Staff
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