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Mount Etna eruption: is it safe to visit Sicily now and what tourists need to know

Anna KravchukNews
Is it possible to visit Sicily during the eruption of Mount Etna?

Another eruption of Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe, took place on the Italian island of Sicily. This is not the first time in 2023. The volcano does not pose a strong threat to local residents and tourists. However, people still have to suffer from ash emissions, which settle in the surrounding areas. This causes problems with transportation and may close the airport in the Sicilian city of Catania.

The news of the volcanic eruption certainly scares potential travelers. If you were planning a vacation in Catania and eastern Sicily, you probably started to doubt the safety of this idea. The Euronews portal answered whether tourists should be worried.

How often does Mount Etna erupt?

Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in Europe, and it has been in an almost constant state of activity over the past decade. Eruptions can occur several times a year and even within a month.

In 2021, in just six months, Etna ejected so much volcanic material that it grew in height by almost 30 meters. This year, there have already been several eruptions, including in May and August, and now in November.

For the most part, Etna's explosions are classified as low-level volcanic activity. That is, most eruptions do not pose a threat to those living in the area. Among the "side effects" are ash plumes, lava spouts, and weak magma explosions, which are nevertheless impressive. However, the volcano has caused considerable damage in the past. For example, in 2002, lava destroyed shops, hotels, and restaurants in the Piano Provenzana area.

The National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology of Italy reported that the height of the eruption column on the night of November 12 is estimated at about 4,500 meters above sea level.

Mount Etna eruption: is it safe to visit Sicily now and what tourists need to know

Is it safe to visit Etna?

As we have already noted, Etna is considered a safe volcano. Most of the time, the biggest inconvenience is the ash that covers the surrounding cities during eruptions. It also causes the Catania airport to close from time to time, as it did earlier this week and in May of this year. However, it is now operating as usual. However, problems with the operation of ground transportation still remain unresolved.

The volcano is under intensive monitoring. The National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology of Catania has a system of cameras, sensors, computers and human control on site that record and report tremors in real time.

Mount Etna eruption: is it safe to visit Sicily now and what tourists need to know

There were episodes in history when a volcano seriously harmed people and cities around it. In addition to the case in 2002 mentioned above, we can also recall 1928. Back then, Etna literally wiped out the entire city of Mascali. And in the 1990s, the lava that came to the surface threatened the city of Zafferana-Etnea, and it had to be diverted by digging canals.

The Go Etna tour company advises visitors to Etna during the "quiet" period to always go with a local guide or agency. They also recommend that tourists inform the hotel or guesthouse where they are staying about their itinerary.

Mount Etna eruption: is it safe to visit Sicily now and what tourists need to know

Is it possible to visit Etna during an eruption?

Speaking about the current state of affairs, there are many hiking trails that are laid out at a sufficient distance from the summit and the craters where explosions occur. That is, you can visit Etna even during the eruption period, as volcanic activity is at a low level.

Experts say that it is a fascinating experience, and some guides organize tours at night, specifically to admire the "fiery light show." However, you should realize that independent tours are strictly prohibited. Without knowing all the nuances, travelers can put themselves in danger.

On the night of August 13, the most active volcano in Europe, Mount Etna, erupted on the east coast of Sicily. As a result, the streets of the city of Catania were covered with ash, and transportation was paralyzed.

The previous powerful eruption of Mount Etna took place in May 2023. As a result of the natural phenomenon, cities in Sicily were covered with ash.

OBOZ.UA also wrote that another eruption of Mount Etna caused disruption of transportation. Read what scientists say here.

Only verified information is available on the OBOZ.UA Telegram channel and Viber. Do not fall for fakes!

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