We heard earlier today that Dr. Boris Behncke thought that Etna was heading for its 10th paroxysm via his Twitter account - and I posted about it here in Eruptions. A few hours later, sure enough we could all watch the eruption live on webcams from anywhere in the world - and discuss it with other volcano enthusiasts and experts. Dr. Behncke came back midday with stunning close-up images of eruption earlier in the day and posted them on Flickr. By the end of the (work) day here in Ohio, the NASA Earth Observatory had posted a MODIS image of today's activity at Etna ... and all before it even shows up in the news.
And that, my friends, is how volcano monitoring operates in the 21st century.
Top left: Etna erupting on August 12, 2011. Webcam capture from Eruptions reader Diane Germany.