Mt. Etna Erupts And Photographer Snaps Stunning Volcanic Lightning Display

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Insomniacs got quite the show overnight when Italy’s famed Mt. Etna erupted Thursday night, sending a plume of volcanic rock and lava over half a mile in the air.

Photographer Marco Restivo, 29, captured the burst from the Italian island of Sicily.

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Known as a “dirty thunderstorm” (when lightning is produced in the volcanic plume) and extremely rare, this was Mt. Etna’s first eruption in over two years. The outburst occurred at 2:20 a.m. Thursday morning.

“Monigbello”, as it is know by the Italians, is the tallest active volcano on the European continent, and the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps.

The eruption lasted for only 50 minutes, considered an extremely brief period of time. According to the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program, the median length of time for a single eruption is usually around seven weeks. This specific eruption was caused by activity in the Voragine crater of Mt. Etna, which has five craters, when small fragments of rock, ash and ice rubbed together to form static electricity.

Italy’s Nazionale Institute of Public Geophysics and Vulcanologia (INGV), stated that this was a short but very violent eruption, ranking it amongst one of the most violent Mt. Etna has seen in the past two decades.

Ash, soot, and sulphur found its way to the local village of Catania at the base of the volcano and forced the closure of Reggio Calabria Airpot, the local airport.

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