Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, has erupted, sending up a towering plume of ash visible in much of eastern Sicily, Italy.
Etna’s eruptions aren’t infrequent, although the last major one occurred in 1992.
Catania airport says the eruption on Saturday forced the closure of nearby airspace before dawn, but authorities lifted the order in early morning.
Several inhabited villages dot the mountain’s slopes, but evacuations weren’t necessary despite the lava flow.
Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity.
The fertile volcanic soils support extensive agriculture, with vineyards and orchards spread across the lower slopes of the mountain and the broad Plain of Catania to the south.
Due to its history of recent activity and nearby population, Mount Etna has been designated a Decade Volcano by the United Nations.
In June 2013, it was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites