Italy’s Mount Etna erupts ash into air prompting airport closure

Italy’s Mount Etna erupts ash into air prompting airport closure

At least one airport in Italy has been closed after Mount Etna sent black clouds of smoke and ash into the air following an eruption this past weekend, with the latest plumes spewing forth on Monday.

The latest eruption is a result of a new fracture on the based of the southeastern crater of Etna, according to Italy’s official Ansa news agency.

On Saturday night, lava could be seen erupting into the air before flowing down the mountain, with seismic activity continuing well into Monday.

By midday on Dec. 24, about 130 tremors had been recorded, with a magnitude-4.0 even being detected, the National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology said.

Catania airport on Sicily’s eastern coast has closed as a result of the eruption, as ash can impact plane engines and even lead to them stalling or failing in some cases, the BBC reports.

While the eruption is not a threat to most communities, the Associated Press reports hikers are being brought down from higher elevations for their safety.

This weekend’s eruption is one of many which have occurred this year, the most recent taking place in November.

As of 11 a.m. ET, no injuries had been reported due to the eruption.

Etna, which stands at 3,330 metres, can experience several eruptions in a year, but the last major eruption hasn’t occurred since 1992.

— With files from Reuters and the Associated Press

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