Italy’s Mount Etna Erupts Twice in Less Than 48 hours

ESA's Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission captured the explosion in all its glory.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Mount Etna is a volcano located on the east coast of Sicily and is considered to be one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Its name, quite appropriately, comes from the Greek Aitne, from aithō literally meaning “I burn.”

That's why it came as no surprise to anyone when on Tuesday, February 16th, 2021 the mountain began to erupt. Two days later on Thursday, February 18th, 2021, Etna erupted once more, making it twice in less than 48 hours.

"After Etna’s powerful eruption on Tuesday 16 February, the volcano produced another spectacular display of fire — with tall lava fountains shooting into the night sky, reaching heights of around 2296 feet (700 meters). The first eruption caused large lava flows to descend eastwards into the Valle del Bove, traveling for approximately 13123 feet (4 km), but the second major explosion on Thursday 18 caused the lava also to run for about 4265 feet (1.3 km) down the volcano’s southern flanks," reported the European Space Agency (ESA) who also captured a striking image of Thursday's explosion (a modified infrared image). 

The image featured above was taken at 09:40 GMT by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission and was processed using the mission’s shortwave-infrared band to indicate the lava flow in a glorious bright red.

It was also reported that the city of Catania was covered in ashes and that authorities had to keep a close watch in the nearby towns of the base of the volcano such as Linguaglossa, Fornazzo, and Milo. Sicily’s Catania Airport was closed temporarily.

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Mount Etna is considered the highest active volcano in Europe with its topmost elevation reaching 10,900 feet (3,320 meters). Of course, it varies in height according to its eruptions and the periodic collapse of its crater’s rim. Etna covers an impressive area of some 600 square miles (1,600 square km).

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