"During the first weeks of January 2011, activity at Mt. Etna Volcano, located on the island of Sicily, has steadily increased. Mt. Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and has one of the longest documented records of historical volcanism, dating back to 1500 B.C. Most of these documented eruptions have been small gas and ash explosions followed by basaltic lava flows. The current increase in activity has followed this same historical pattern. As much as Etna has been studied, its tectonic setting is still not completely understood."

Read more at Suite101: Mt. Etna Volcanic Activity http://www.suite101.com/content/mt-etna-volcanic-activity-a332014#ixzz1CgnoQR7d

"Catania, 13 Jan. (AKI) - Sicily's Mount Etna, Europe's largest active volcano, briefly erupted belching ash and sending lava down its slopes as vulcanologist kept an eye on the mountain for signs of further activity.The two-hour eruption late Wednesday lit up the sky and temporarily closed the nearby airport in Catania in eastern Sicily. Fontanarossa airport reopened around 6:30 am on Thursday after delaying or diverting some domestic flights.There were no reported casualties caused by the eruption.Etna's last major eruption was in 1992.The ancient Greeks believed 3,329-metre Etna to be the home of Vulcan, the god of fire. erupting merely meant Vulcan was forging weapons for Mars, the god of war.
" (ADNKronos.com)

"Lava pours from a pit crater high up Mount Etna Wednesday night. Despite its nearly constant activity, the Sicilian volcano rarely causes harm, since its eruptions occur so high up and its lava moves relatively slowly." See the other photos and related story at National Geographic.

Read Mt. Etna's Mystery Explained. ""Until now there had been many explanations for Mount Etna and that of the surrounding volcanics, but none had been able to explain the timing, origin and dynamics of the activity."

Photo: Mario_C_ - Twitter Click on the photo to go to its page on Twitpic

Click on the photo to go to its page on Twitpic

Here's a slide show of photos of Mt. Etna, taken between 10 and 31 January 2011, posted on Flickr.

Update 19 February 2011 on The Big Think (a blog dedicated to volcanism)
Etna puts on a show, but keeps the curtains closed
"Dr. Boris Behncke brings us news that Etna seemed to have another eruption, however unlike the events of January 12-13 of this year (top left), these events have been obscured by clouds on the volcano. However, there are plenty of other signs that the volcano is active, including strong seismicity and evidence of hot pyroclastic material." Read it all at http://bigthink.com/ideas/30762

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