The highest European volcano has gained height.

The significant activity of Etna, whose majestic silhouette dominates the east of Sicily and in particular the city of Catania, has made the volcano gain several meters, which now rises to 3,357 meters, announced on Tuesday the Italian Institute of vulcanology.

“The activity recorded in 2021 resulted in the accumulation of significant amounts of pyroclastic material and lava layers on the cone of the southeast crater, the youngest and most active of the four craters at the top of Etna, resulting in to a considerable transformation of the silhouette of the volcano ”, explained the National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology (INGV) in a press release.

The #Etna volcano on the island of Sicily, currently affected by major forest fires, has once again erupted, said the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology of Catania.

The crater spat out lava, ash, and smoke.

pic.twitter.com/eJv2E46wxS

- SoHan Sun (@SunSohan) August 9, 2021

A frenetic activity since the beginning of the year

It is thanks to the analysis of satellite images that INGV scientists were able to conclude that the south-eastern crater has now overtaken its "big brother" in the north-east, which had been the summit for around forty years. undisputed of the famous volcano. The altitude of 3,357 meters, which has a margin of error of plus or minus three meters, was obtained from the images of the Pléiades satellite taken in July within the framework of the international partnership "Geohazard Supersites and Natural Laboratories", allowing the update of the digital model of Etna.

Beyond the scientific aspect, the daily life of the inhabitants of the area surrounding Etna is impacted by its frenetic activity in recent months. “Since February, we have had no less than 55 events,” says Tania Cannizzaro, a retiree living in Catania. “Depending on the wind, the rumblings of the volcano reach Catania and make the windows shake. The ashes carried by the wind fall on the streets and balconies all the time, which turn completely black, ”she says. “One evening, I was in the car and the ash was falling like rain (…) But there is also the spectacle, especially in the evening, when you see this moving red plume”.

Since 1980, the summit of the volcano had been on the northeast crater, which had reached a maximum altitude of 3,350 meters following eruptive activities in September 1980 and February 1981. Etna had then lost a few meters due to landslides on the edges of the crater, descending to 3,326 meters in 2018. Etna, with an area of ​​1,250 km², is the highest active volcano in Europe, with frequent eruptions for around 500,000 years.

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