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Mount Etna: Photos of the Largest Active Volcano in Europe

Huge craters

Mount Etna is a series of nested stratovolcanoes with four distinct summit craters. There are two central craters, called Bocca Nuova and Voragine; the Northeast crater; and the newest Southeast crater, which was formed by an eruption in 1978.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Mount Etna is a series of nested stratovolcanoes with four distinct summit craters. There are two central craters, called Bocca Nuova and Voragine; the Northeast crater; and the Southeast crater, which was formed by an eruption in 1978.

Fiery beauty

Strombolian eruptions, which produce ash, tephra and lava fountains, are fairly common in Mount Etna's craters.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Strombolian eruptions, which produce ash, tephra and lava fountains, are fairly common in Mount Etna's craters.

Long history

The first recorded observation of an eruption at Mount Etna was written by Diodorus Siculus in 425 B.C.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The first recorded observation of an eruption at Mount Etna was written by Diodorus Siculus in 425 B.C.

Spewing lava

Mount Etna has almost continuous eruptive activity near the summit craters and in the Valle del Bove, but these vertical eruptions pose little threat to nearby towns.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Mount Etna has almost continuous eruptive activity near the summit craters and in the Valle del Bove, but these vertical eruptions pose little threat to nearby towns on the east coast of Sicily.

Beautiful mountain

Locals call Mount Etna "Mongibello," which means "the beautiful mountain."

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Though the volcano's many eruptions can sometimes be dangerous, locals call Mount Etna "Mongibello," which means "the beautiful mountain."