Speed Reads

Etna Erupts

Italy's Mount Etna erupts, forcing airport closure

Italy's Mount Etna, one of the world's most active volcanoes, erupted Sunday, forcing the nearby airport to a standstill after the runways become covered in ash. 

The volcano, located on the eastern coast of Sicily near the city of Catania, began spewing ash Sunday morning, Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) told The Associated Press. However, cloud cover and a rainy day obscured significant views of the eruption, which the AP noted "often serves up a spectacular display of flaming lava."

The 10,925-foot-high volcano, the tallest in Europe, has been known to erupt multiple times per year, though the last major event was in 1992. 

As a result of the eruption, the nearby Catania Airport tweeted that it would be closed "until normal safety conditions are restored." The airport had already closed a sector of airspace due to the eruption, causing a number of delays in arrivals and departures to Sicily, one of Italy's most popular tourist destinations. 

The eruption caused ash to fall throughout the city of Catania and nearby settlements along the volcano, local officials reported. No injuries were reported, though local media images obtained by Reuters showed cars covered in a thick layer of soot. 

Residents throughout the nearby towns of Adrano and Biancavilla heard multiple booms as Etna began erupting, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. 

The eruption did not come as much of a surprise, as volcanic activity had been reported for days. Italy's Civil Protection Service raised the volcano's seismic warning level this past week, saying there were signs of "low to medium eruptive activity." A prior eruption of Etna in 2021 lasted several weeks. 

Italy is already dealing with a separate natural disaster, as a series of deadly floods in the northern region of Emilia Romagna has killed at least 13 people and forced another 36,000 from their homes.