Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, erupted several times but authorities said it poses no danger to people.

Streams of red hot lava flow as Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, leaps into action, seen from Giarre, Italy, February 16, 2021.
Streams of red hot lava flow as Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, leaps into action, seen from Giarre, Italy, February 16, 2021. (Reuters)

Mount Etna, one of the world's most active volcanoes, has belched smoke and ashes in a new eruption, but Italian authorities said it posed no danger to the surrounding villages.

"We've seen worse," the head of the INGV National Institute for Geophysics and Vulcanology in the nearby city of Catania, Stefano Branco, told Italian news agency AGI.

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Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, spews ash and lava, Tuesday, February 16, 2021.
Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, spews ash and lava, Tuesday, February 16, 2021. (AP)

Estimating that the eruption from Etna's southeastern crater began late on Tuesday afternoon, Branco insisted that the latest burst of activity was "not at all worrying".

Nevertheless, with small stones and ashes raining down, authorities decided to close Catania's international airport.

An eruption from Mount Etna lights up the sky during the night, as seen from Zafferana, Italy, January 18, 2021.
An eruption from Mount Etna lights up the sky during the night, as seen from Zafferana, Italy, January 18, 2021. (Reuters)

The emergency authorities said on their Twitter account that they were monitoring the situation closely in the three villages at the foot of the volcano – Linguaglossa, Fornazzo and Milo.

Large streams of red hot lava shoot into the night sky as Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, leaps into action, seen from the village of Fornazzo, Italy, February 3, 2021.
Large streams of red hot lava shoot into the night sky as Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, leaps into action, seen from the village of Fornazzo, Italy, February 3, 2021. (Reuters)

Images showed a spectacular rose-coloured plume of ashes above the snow-capped summit, but the cloud had largely dissipated by nightfall, while lava flows continued to glow.

Streams of red hot lava are seen as Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, leaps into action, seen from the village of Catania, Italy, February 16, 2021.
Streams of red hot lava are seen as Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, leaps into action, seen from the village of Catania, Italy, February 16, 2021. (Reuters)

At 3,324 metres (nearly 11,000 feet), Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe and has erupted frequently in the past 500,000 years. 

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Source: AFP