The city of Catania (Sicily, Italy) and the surrounding municipalities have dawned covered with ash and lava fragments, after the violent eruption of the Etna volcano that lasted several hours and kept momentarily closed its airport. The highest active volcano in Europe began one of its frequent eruptions on Tuesday afternoon, this time of great intensity, with emissions of lava, ash and expulsion of lapilli, stone fragments, which reached nearby towns and Catania.

The eruption, which raised a smoke column of more than one kilometer, lasted about an hour and forced the Catania airport to suspend all activity due to visibility problems.

The tongue of lava descended through the desert Bove Valley, reaching 1,700 meters, in an area far from inhabited centers, according to the Institute of Volcanology of Catania.

Since this morning, they have begun to clean the cities from the ash and to count the damage, especially to crops, and local authorities have banned in some municipalities the circulation of motorcycles and bicycles because of the danger of the roads.

The Institute explained that these paroxysmal episodes are a typical phenomenon of Etna’s recent eruptive activity.

From 1977 to the present there have been hundreds of episodes similar to the current one, including the exceptional sequence of 66 between January and August 2000 and about 50 between 2011 and 2013.

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