A view of the steaming Mt. Etna, taken on April 8, 2010 by Dr. Boris Behncke.
Eruptions reader and member at Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Catania, Dr. Boris Behncke, has been keeping many of us appraised on the goings-on at Mt. Etna. A series of earthquakes occurred on April 2-3 along a fault near the north flank of the volcano - 175 earthquakes in all producing some impressive results - and Boris has noted increased "rumblings" at Etna since. This has culminated in explosions and ash April 7-8. Most of the ash appears to be made from merely crushed rock of previous eruption - accidental material rather than new juvenile magma, but all of this suggests that Etna could be headed for a new eruptive period. There has also been an increase in the gas emissions from the volcano - all signs that new magma may be rising in the conduit and a new eruption is approaching. Etna erupts quite frequently, but has been relatively quiet over the last few months, with little in the way of obviously eruptive activity.