Italy's Mount Etna is erupting

April 13, 2012 at 3:20 PM   |   Comments

CATANIA, Italy, April 13 (UPI) -- Europe's most active volcano, Mount Etna in Sicily, is spewing lava and ash in its sixth eruption this year, authorities said.

The eruption is the 24th in a series that began in January 2011.

Rocks tumbled off the southeast side of the 10,925-foot volcano, just 10 miles from the village of Zafferana Etnea and 18 miles above the town of Catania, Sky News reported Friday.

Twenty-five percent of Sicily's population lives on the slopes of Mount Etna.

Authorities have not issued any danger warnings and the Catania International Airport has remained open, Sky News said.

Eruptions from Etna are caused by the African tectonic plate sliding below the Eurasian plate, with the Eurasian plate melting as it moves downwards, forcing hot magma to the surface.

Etna's most powerful recorded eruption in 1669 destroyed much of the mountain top with lava running into to the Mediterranean Sea.

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