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Mount Etna Eruption Injures BBC Crew, Tourists Caught in Blast

By Karl Nelson   |   Friday, 17 Mar 2017 09:58 AM

A Mount Etna volcano eruption in Sicily left a BBC crew and several tourists with injuries on Thursday.

About 10 people got caught in the volcano explosion, which bombarded them with “rocks,” “burning boulders,” and “boiling steam,” BBC News reported.

“Many injured – some head injuries, burns, cuts and bruises,” BBC science reporter Rebecca Morelle tweeted.

Rescue units came to the scene to help some of those injured evacuate the mountain following the incident.

“I received a bruise on my head but am generally fine and [now] having a good, well-deserved beer,” Boris Behncke, a scientist at Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, wrote in a Facebook post, according to NBC News.

Behncke described the incident as a “violent explosion at the contact between flowing lava and thick snow.”

According to Marco Neri, a volcanologist at Italy’s National Institute, the explosion was caused by a “phreatic eruption,” which is when lava flows quickly over snow. This type of activity creates an extremely steamy atmosphere on the mountain.

“When the lava flows over a lot of snow at high speed, it can trap the snow underneath,” Neri said, according to NBC. “The snow then melts into water, then becomes vapor, and the pressure on the cap made of lava eventually leads to an explosion called phreatic eruption. This is what happened in this case.”

According to the USGS, these eruptions cause “an explosion of steam, water, ash, blocks, and bombs.”

The lava that covered the snow on Mount Etna was said to be as hot as 2,100 degrees.

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A Mount Etna volcano eruption in Sicily left a BBC crew and several tourists with injuries on Thursday.
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