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Mount Etna Erupts in Fiery Display

Italy's Mount Etna erupted on Sunday, June 15, 2014, in a fiery display.
Italy's Mount Etna erupted on Sunday, June 15, 2014, in a fiery display. (Image credit: Screengrab/AP video)

Italy's Mount Etna erupted in a spectacular nighttime display Sunday (June 15), captured on video by avid volcano watchers.

Lava fountained in the air and flowed down Etna's flanks from its New Southeast crater. The lava flowed and spread into the Valle del Bove. Ash from the eruption closed nearby Catania Airport in Sicily, but no injuries or other closures have been reported, according to the BBC.

Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and one of the world's most frequently erupting volcanoes. The stunning eruptions at Etna often come to life in short, violent bursts called paroxysms. Mount's Etna's outbursts produce enough lava each year to fill Chicago's Willis Tower (the former Sears Tower), a 2012 study found.

Etna's last major eruption was in 1992, but the volcano belches lava every year. Though the first historic Etna eruption dates back to 1500 B.C., the volcano is actually much older, with the first lava flows pouring out 500,000 years ago. Geologists can analyze elements in Etna's rocks to precisely date when they emerged from the volcano.

Email Becky Oskin or follow her @beckyoskin. Follow us @OAPlanet, Facebook and Google+. Original article at Live Science's Our Amazing Planet.

Becky Oskin
Contributing Writer
Becky Oskin covers Earth science, climate change and space, as well as general science topics. Becky was a science reporter at Live Science and The Pasadena Star-News; she has freelanced for New Scientist and the American Institute of Physics. She earned a master's degree in geology from Caltech, a bachelor's degree from Washington State University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.