Mount Etna erupts, again


Lava flows from the Mount Etna volcano on the southern Italian island of Sicily near Catania on November 17, 2013. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity.


Dario Azzaro

Italy's Mount Etna has erupted once again, raining ash down on the towns surrounding the volcano's slopes over the last few days.

Europe's most active and largest volcano erupts regularly, with the last major eruption occurring in 1992.

Several air corridors were closed but not the nearby airport of Catania.

There were no recorded injuries.

Etna has the longest recorded history of any volcano on the planet.

Its first ever recorded eruption dates back to 1500 BC and the volcano is thought to have erupted 200 times since then.

The poet Virgil even mentioned it in his works, claiming that the volcano blocked out the sun for several days and damaged the nearby town of Catania in an event sometime around 29 BC.

Virgil wrote in the Georgics:

Yea, how often have we seen
Etna, her furnace-walls asunder riven,
In billowy floods boil o'er the Cyclops' fields,
And roll down globes of fire and molten rocks!

Other major eruptions were recorded in 40 AD, 1169, 1185 and 1669. An eruption in 1992 nearly destroyed the town of Zafferana, if not for a diversion of the lava flow.

The features of the volcano have made it less deadly than Mount Vesuvius near Naples, which infamously destroyed the city of Pompeii in 79 AD.