Natural fireworks at Mt. Etna
Mount Etna recently surged back to life, as it tends to do every few months or years. A local volcanologist, Dr. Boris Behncke, has posted videos from Saturday night, and they are spectacular! This 8-minute sequence may stretch your online attention span, but there’s a wealth of riches to be had herein. After thirty seconds of scene-setting, the fireworks ramp up, with a series of stunning lava-bursts from about ninety second to three minutes or so: huge spheres of glowing lava expanding outwards, then settling ever-further down the mountain’s flanks. From about six to seven minutes, there’s a wonderful sequence with the near-full moon setting behind the smoke plume and peak. As an added treat, the video gives at least a sense of the thunderous booms that follow a few seconds behind the visuals, the locally-familiar call of the mountain rolling across the landscape, day and night, into the streets and homes—and the hearts and bones—of all its neighbors.
For more on this eruption, including several links to more images of Etna, see this article at Wired.com. And check out these two posts from the good Dr. Behncke, on an especially interesting burst of activity in late October, and on the last surviving remnant of an old hut, built in a burst of foolishness in the 1960’s: an antenna, now poking its lonely head from ash and lava flows.