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'Lava Bombs' Erupt from Mount Etna [VIDEO]

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Nov 18, 2013 12:12 PM EST
Mount Etna
(Photo : Reuters )

Mount Etna erupted again over the weekend, spewing glowing "lava bombs" that dazzled like fireworks in the night sky, but posed no risk to the villages dotting the Italian mountainside.

The eruption, which began late Saturday and lasted through Sunday morning, reportedly lit up the sky over much of eastern Sicily. No evacuations were ordered, according to The Associated Press.

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Etna has been very active recently with a number of spectacular eruptions after about half a year of little activity.

The eruption came from Etna's New Southeast Crater and is classified as a strombolian eruption, according to Erik Klemetti, an assistant professor of geosciences at Denison University who frequently blogs about volcanoes for Wired.

"The style of eruption is driven by large coalescing gas bubbles that travel up the lava (magma)-filled conduit and burst as they reach the vent. This bursting generates impressive explosively, throwing all those glowing lava bombs hundreds of meters from the vent," Klemetti said Monday.

Klemetti speculated that the lava bombs were about a meter across, perhaps larger. The event also produced lava flows that snaked down to the base of the crater, he said.

Etna, an 11,000 foot high stratovolcano, is the tallest active volcano in Europe. The volcano has a long history of eruptions which can be traced by to Greek mythology. Etna's last major eruption was in 1992

This weekend's eruption did not cause any change in operations at the nearby Cantania airport, but airspace above the volcano was closed to protect aircraft from damaging volcanic ash, the AP reported.

According to Klemetti, the footage of Etna was filmed by Dr. Boris Behncke from the Osservatorio Etneo. An version edited by Reuters is below. Following that is a much longer version.

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