The photo shows Etna’s eruption creating a rare volcanic storm and sending dramatic lightning bolts across the sky


A particularly strong outbreak of Etna created a volcanic storm that sent dramatic lightning bolts across the sky over eastern Sicily.

A volcano expert from Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology said Friday such volcanic storms are rare but can occur during particularly violent eruptions or at volcanoes near the sea.

A volcanic thunderstorm over Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy, creates volcanic lightning during an eruption on February 11, 2022.

Emilio Messina/AP

Volcanologist Boris Behnke told The Associated Press that volcanic lightning was observed over Mount Etna once in 2021 and before that in 2015.

The eruption just before midnight on Thursday caused no damage. But it shot ash more than 6 miles above sea level.

Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in Europe and its eruptions are not uncommon. It is the largest of Italy’s three active volcanoes.

Etna erupted last June, releasing ash and orange-colored lava into the air. The eruption lasted several hours, raining dust on nearby towns. Etna also erupted in October, sending a massive ash cloud over the volcano.

Images from the Week Global photo gallery
Plumes of smoke from Etna volcano seen from Nicolosi, Sicily, southern Italy, February 10, 2022.

Salvatore Allegra/AP

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