It’s been two years since Italy’s Mount Etna has been this active. The huge plume of smoke and ash brought another phenomenon with it. A dirty thunderstorm. And it lasted for nearly an hour. Sicilian photographer Marco Restivo was at the right place at the right time and captured a series of incredible images.

According to Barcroft TV, Marco “used photo editing software to overlap five images to create one single picture which shows volcanic lighting under a cloud of dense smoke.”

The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) caught all the action from space.

The short, spectacular eruption doesn’t appear to be affecting anyone, aside from some ash on the nearby cities of Messina and Reggio Calabria.

Mount Etna at a glance

– It’s the tallest active volcano on the European continent at 10,922 feet high. This number can vary slightly following eruptions.

– It’s also the tallest mountain in Italy south of the Alps.

– It covers an area measuring 459 square miles, making it the largest of Italy’s three active volcanoes (Mount Vesuvius, Mount Stromboli).

– There are five distinct craters of Mount Etna – the Northeast Crater, the Voragine, the Bocca Nuova, and the Southeast Crater Complex. Yesterday’s eruption saw lava spew 3,200 feet into the air from the Voragine crater.

– Mount Etna produces smoke rings. It’s rare, but the volcano has produced smoke rings in the past. Reuters’ Antonio Parrinello captured the smoke ring below during Etna’s 2013 eruption.

smoke ring mount etna

Imaging smoke rings is difficult since they don’t last that long. Some last just 5 minutes before dissipating.

Things are back to normal today. The only evidence of yesterday’s spectacular display is a wispy white plume.

mount etna space

Credit: NASA

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