IN PICTURES: Sicily's Mount Etna puffs 'smoke rings' in rare show

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IN PICTURES: Sicily's Mount Etna puffs 'smoke rings' in rare show
Smoke rises from Mount Etna at sunset in December 2018. Photo by GIOVANNI ISOLINO / AFP

Near-perfect circles of gas emerged from Mount Etna in a rare display captured on camera by residents and tourists over the weekend.


A new crater opened on the summit of Europe's largest active volcano leading to an unusual display of 'smoke rings', with thousands recorded in recent days, reported La Repubblica.

Boris Behncke, researcher at the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) in Catania, said they were called "volcanic vortex rings", rings of volcanic gas emitted by Etna “more than any other volcano on earth”.

The rare phenomenon occurs only in very specific conditions generated by a constant release of gas and vapours.

The volcano has emitted thousands of spectacular rings since last Tuesday, which has led local media to dub it Lady of the Rings (or Signora degli Anelli in Italian). 

Experts have said the rings are harmless and aren’t necessarily a prelude to an imminent eruption.

A volcanic tremor and "about six summit explosive events" were recorded below the volcano’s southern crater on Sunday afternoon, INGV said.

Other major emissions of rings occurred in February 2000 and July 2023.


At 3,324 metres (nearly 11,000 feet), Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe and eruptions have been frequent over the past 500,000 years.

Last May, the volcano released large amounts of volcanic ash and smoke in the air, forcing local airport authorities to halt all flights to and from the nearby airport of Catania, a popular tourist destination in eastern Sicily.


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Thomas J Puleo 2024/04/08 09:54
Mamma mia

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