Mount Etna spews lava and ash

The biggest active volcano in Europe puts on a spectacular show

Mount Etna provided a spectacular night show in Sicily when its south slope erupted on Sunday night.

Ash emissions up to 100 metres high were seen spewing into the sky. Huge explosions were heard.

The giant orange fountains of lava could be seen from the city of Catania 35 kilometres away.

Boris Behncke, from Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, shared footage of the eruption on Twitter.

At the weekend, he wrote: "Eruptive activity at the summit craters of #Etna has diminished over the past few days, but is continuing at the easternmost vent of the Southeast Crater."

Although volcanic ash clouds can cause flight disruptions, the nearby Catania airport was operating normally on Monday.

Authorities reported no danger to the towns that dot the mountain’s slopes.

An earthquake of magnitude 2.7 was recorded on the slopes shortly before blasts were heard.

Mount Etna, 3,300 metres high, is the biggest active volcano in Europe, with frequent eruptions recorded since Roman times.

The most recent occurred in the spring of 2017 and the last major eruption in the winter of 2008/2009.

In 2018, a study published in the Bulletin of Volcanology said that Etna is slowly sliding towards the Mediterranean – at a constant pace of 14 millimetres per year.