Natural Wonders

Watch: A volcano erupts at dawn. Can anything be more spectacularly fearsome?

Mt Etna has been in a perpetual state of activity for 2.5 million years.


The video above features breathtaking scenes of eruptions taking place in Mount Etna that is located in the Province of Catania in Sicily, Italy.

Shot by local journalist Turi Caggegi, the video shows plumes of smoke, ash and lava emerge from the summit of the 3,329 metre-high volcano, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Mount Etna is one of the largest active volcanoes in the world and has been in a state of perpetual eruptions for close to 2.5 million years.

“On May 17th we witnessed an increase in the amplitude of volcanic tremors and recorded intense degassing accompanied by occasional, weak emissions from the north-eastern crater,” said the Catania branch of Italy's National Vulcanology and Geophysics Institute (INGV).

Mount Etna in better times.

Mount Etna is prominently featured in Greek mythology. Aetna, one of Zeus' wives, was the goddess behind the volcano, and Zeus is also said to have buried Typhon, a storm-giant, underneath the mountain. Typhon, according to mythology, has been the cause of the eruptions over the centuries. The first recorded eruption was in 1665, and the last one was in December 2015, where a lava fountain reaching 1 km in height erupted from the Voragine crater, one of the mountain's five distinct craters.

Here, photographer and professional storm chaser Geoff Mackley takes his version of a "Journey to the Centre of the Earth", going as close as possible to Mount Etna, beyond a sign that reads, "It is dangerous to go beyond this limit because of explosive activity." They have a close call when a tiny lava fountain suddenly explodes into a much larger one.


And here's a glorious aerial view of the mountain and the surrounding area, shot by a drone in 4k.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic, and not by the Scroll editorial team.