May 24, 2024

Etna with a difference: a volcano spews wisps of smoke Sciences

Etna – the most active volcano in Europe and which sometimes seems quite dangerous – is making a big difference: the more than 3,300-metre-high mountain on the Italian island of Sicily in the Mediterranean is currently spewing curls of white smoke, which then rise far to the top. . Sky – unusually peaceful scenes.

The so-called volcanic vortex rings come from a newly formed crater in the southeastern crater. They are caused by small explosions of gas bubbles in the narrow throat above the magma chamber.

Etna (in Italian: Etna) was called the “Lord of the Rings” by locals. This is not the first time such numbers have been seen: such rings were first mentioned 300 years ago, in 1724. However, this phenomenon occurs rarely, and when it does happen, it is not that frequent. Thousands of episodes have been observed since the new mouth was opened.

Vortex rings are not a new phenomenon

The term volcanic vortex rings was coined by the English physicist William Thomson (1824-1907). Such rings have also been observed on another well-known Italian volcano, Stromboli on the island of the same name in the Mediterranean. According to experts, it is completely harmless and shows no signs of an impending eruption. Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe. The height of the mountain is about 3,350 metres. However, the exact elevation changes again and again due to eruptions and volcanic cones.

German volcanologist Boris Behnke – active on social networks as Etnaboris – wrote: “No volcano on Earth produces as many steam rings as Etna. It now appears to be breaking all records. The small crater opened on Tuesday. The expert from Since then, the mountain has produced thousands of rings, said the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Catania. He added on the X program: “Maybe it's because we've had a lot of bad news recently. So Etna decided to do something simply beautiful.

The smoke signals above Etna also attracted many locals and tourists near the mountain. Despite temperatures around 25 degrees, it is still early in the season in Sicily. In past centuries there have been frequent spectacular eruptions on Etna. According to historical records, more than 20,000 people died there in 1669, in what is believed to be the worst disaster. About a dozen towns were destroyed at that time.