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Volcanic eruption triggers multiple earthquakes in Sicily

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, belches out a spectacular fountain of lava during an eruption near the Sicilian town of Catania, Italy, in early 2017. File Photo by Orietta Scardino/EPA-EFE
Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, belches out a spectacular fountain of lava during an eruption near the Sicilian town of Catania, Italy, in early 2017. File Photo by Orietta Scardino/EPA-EFE

Dec. 26 (UPI) -- The eruption of the Mount Etna volcano in Sicily this week triggered a series of earthquakes on the island nation, the largest being a 4.8 magnitude tremor that hit early Wednesday.

About 30 people were injured, several old buildings were damaged and highways were shut down in the aftermath of the latest quake that hit at 3:19 a.m.

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Television reports showed damage in the Sicilian towns of Santa Venerina and Zafferana Etnea. The epicenter was less than a mile below the surface north of Catania.

Some of heaviest damage was done to centuries-old churches, which were empty at the time.

A Christmas Eve eruption of Mount Etna, the most active volcano in Europe, was the first since spring of 2017. The last major eruption was in the winter of 2008-2009.

Volcanic ash covered nearby villages and flights to and from the Catania airport were temporarily stopped. Anyone on the mountain was told to evacuate quickly.

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