Mount Etna Grows 100 Feet Taller as a Result of 50 Eruptions in 6 Months

Mount Etna is now 100 feet taller than it was six months ago, reported Space.com. According to the National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), scientists made the discovery while analyzing images taken by the Pléiades satellite on July 13 and 25.

The height increase is a result of the 50 paroxysmal eruptions from the southeastern crater since February 16. The events, said INGV in a translated statement, "have accumulated considerable quantities of pyroclastic material and layers of lava on the cone of the Southeast Crater...leading to a conspicuous transformation of the shape of the volcano."

According to NASA via ABC News, paroxysmal eruptions are defined as "short, violent bursts of activity."

The crater, which is both the youngest and most active, is now the tallest part of the volcano at 11,013 feet above sea level, exceeding its "big brother" the northeastern crater, which was the "undisputed peak" of Etna, located on the east coast of Sicily, Italy, for 40 years.

In 1981, the northeast crater reached 10,990 feet above sea level but lost some of its height throughout the years due to the collapse of its edges. The southeastern crater now serves as the infamous volcano's peak.

As volcanoes erupt, lava and ash accumulate, adding layers and height to the natural structures, explained Scholastic. With the southeast crater being so active this year, it's not totally surprising the peak has seen such quick growth. In fact, major eruptions over time have caused Mount Etna to be the towering volcano it is today.

According to NASA's Earth Observatory, scientists theorize that Mount Etna originally began as a "submarine volcano." Over time, the volcano grew to tower over sea level on "layer above layer of solidified lava." Most of its surface is now covered by "historic lava flows dating back to eruptions as old as 300,000 years."

The volcano is not only Europe's most active but has the longest recorded history of eruptions of all volcanoes around the world. NASA scientists said there have been 200 eruptions since 1500 B.C., 50 of which have happened in 2021.

In March, many on social media shared a video showing a youth rugby team training as Mount Etna erupts in the background. But due to the volcano's frequent activity, the players on the field hardly stopped to notice. Of course, Etna's activity has caused some disruption throughout Italy.

In February, Catania airport was forced to close temporarily due to eruptions, and some villages were covered in ash. In the town of Pedara, motorbikes and scooters were banned and speed limits were lowered in an effort to reduce the spread of ash and volcanic stone.

Mount Etna
Mount Etna, located on the east coast of Sicily, Italy, has grown 100 feet taller as a result of 50 eruptions in the last six months. Above, lava erupts from the South-East crater. Fabrizio Villa / Contributor/Getty