Video: Mount Etna erupts producing four-mile smoke plume

Ruth Doherty
 Video: Mount Etna erupts - again
Video: Mount Etna erupts - again

The Daily Telegraph

It's not known as Europe's most active volcano for nothing - Italy's Mount Etna has erupted for the fourth time this year.

A plume of ash and smoke four miles long billowed into the uninhabited Valle de Bove.

According to the Telegraph, local airports were not closed, although two nearby flight paths were shut down.

Mount Etna is 11,000 ft high and sits 18 miles above the Sicilian town of Catania.

The volcano also erupted in January, spewing lava and an ash cloud 5,000 metres into the air. And, back in May 2011, the eruption was serious enough to close the nearby airport, and raised concerns for the long-distance bicycle race, Giro D'Italia, which passes by it.

Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity. The fertile volcanic soils support extensive agriculture, with vineyards and orchards spread across the lower slopes of the mountain and the broad Plain of Catania to the south.

Known as 'Jebel Utlamat' in Arabic - meaning 'mountain of fire - Etna's name is thought to originate from the Phoenician word 'attuna', meaning 'furnace'.

The volcano has been active for around half a million years, with 15,000 people killed during its most violent eruption in 1669.

While its modern eruptions have rarely threatened the inhabited areas in the volcano's vicinity, a lengthy blast in 2002 was spectacular enough for footage of it to be included in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.