NPR logo Sicily's Mt. Etna Erupts, Lights Up Night Sky

International

Sicily's Mt. Etna Erupts, Lights Up Night Sky

Overnight, Mount Etna in Italy erupted. Luckily, the volcano is about 18 miles from the town of Catania on Sicily's east coast, so it hasn't caused much disruption. The images, though, are stunning:

Lava overflowing from the eastern rim of Mount Etna, Sicily. Carmelo Imbesi/AP hide caption

toggle caption Carmelo Imbesi/AP

Lava overflowing from the eastern rim of Mount Etna, Sicily.

Carmelo Imbesi/AP

The Daily Mail gives us a history lesson:

Known as 'Jebel Utlamat' in Arabic - meaning 'mountain of fire - Etna's name is thought to originate from the Phoenician word 'attuna', meaning 'furnace'.

The volcano has been active for around half a million years, with 15,000 people killed during its most violent eruption in 1669.

While its modern eruptions have rarely threatened the inhabited areas in the volcano's vicinity, a lengthy blast in 2002 was spectacular enough for footage of it to be included in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.