Mount Etna's eruption over the weekend lit up the night sky over much of eastern Sicily, shooting ash into the sky that could be seen from miles away.
The eruption began late Saturday and tapered off Sunday morning, the Associated Press reported
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There were no injuries reported and none of the villages situated on the mountain's slopes had to be evacuated. The nearest airport, located in the Italian city of Catania, was forced to close two air space sectors due to the large amount of smoke. Takeoffs and departures were not interrupted.
As the glowing ash and flowing lava subsided, the volcano produced smoke rings on Sunday.
Lying above where the African and Eurasian plates converge, Mount Etna is Europe's most active volcano. It has erupted 16 times this year, The Daily Mail reported
Covering an area of 459 square miles, Mount Etna is also the tallest volcano in the continent, standing at nearly 11,000 feet high, making it two and a half the times the height of the next largest volcano, Mount Vesuvius, in the Gulf of Naples.
Prior to Saturday, the last minor eruption occurred on Oct. 26 and it forced the local airport to close. But the eruption did not require any villages on the mountain to evacuate, the BBC reported
The last major eruption occurred at Mount Etna in May of 1992, when a river of lava endangered the nearby town of Zafferana. U.S. Marines were called in with cargo helicopters that dropped massive concrete blocks to contain and control the flow of the lava, preventing it from reaching Zafferana.
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