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Etna starts off 2011 by putting on a show

I am a little late to the party, but all the waiting for the past year (and more) for new activity at Mt. Etna in Italy have paid off. The volcano has now entered a new eruptive period, the first since 2008-09, with some specatular fire fountains and lava flows from the eastern flank of the Southeast Crater (see below). The new eruption started Tuesday night with a slight increase in seismicity before the new lava erupted from a vent in the Southeast Crater. The eruption started as active lava fountaining that filled the crater pit and eventually, around 9 PM local time, the pit overflowed and produced the stunning lava flows that Dr. Boris Behncke (amongst others) have captured (see below). Much of the activity has slowed as Thursday broke on Sicily, allowing the airport at Catania to reopen after closing briefly during the start of the eruption.

Many of the media reports have had additional shots of the lava flows and fountains (including some video as well) from this new activity ~ so hopefully we can expect a lot of the same from Etna in the coming days (weeks? months?) Some of the images of the lava flows with the city of Milo (12 km away) in the foreground are just amazing and honestly, I can’t image looking out of my house window and seeing lava flows in the distant. You can try to live vicariously by checking out the multitude of Etna webcams as well. However, right now it looks like the eruption has brought the INGV Catania website down – hopefully it comes back soon with new information on this eruption!

Lava flow and fountain on Mt. Etna on January 12, 2011. Image by Dr. Boris Behncke – see the original here.

The new lava flow from Mt. Etna with the city of Catania in the foreground. Image from January 12, 2011. Click here to see a larger version.

Webcam capture of the activity at Etna on January 12, 2011, showing the impressive fire fountain at the crater vent. Click here to see larger version. Submitted by Eruptions reader Kirby.

Top left: One of the first explosions of new lava from Mt. Etna on January 12, 2011. Click on the image to see a larger version. Image by Dr. Boris Behncke.

{Special thanks to all the Eruptions readers who commented on this eruption as it broke!}


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