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Thursday, July 2, 1998 Published at 13:46 GMT 14:46 UK

World: Europe

Etna erupts

Mount Etna enjoys the world's longest record of historic eruptions

The BBC's Parminder Sandhu: "Etna's comeback was completely unexpected"
Mount Etna has made an unexpected comeback by erupting again.

The huge display of fire, smoke and lava was enough to rival any fireworks show, but experts say the eruptions posed no threat to villages on the lower slopes of the 10,900 feet (3,300 metre) volcano in Sicily.

[ image: Etna last erupted in January]
Etna last erupted in January
Mount Etna's eruption was the latest in the line of freak natural events in Italy this summer, including extreme temperatures and floods.

Observers are closely monitoring the volcano's activity which they describe as "spectacular but in no way dangerous".

Europe's tallest and most active volcano last erupted in January.

The volcano enjoys the world's longest record of historic eruptions, with its first one recorded in the year 1500BC.

[ image: Experts say there is no threat]
Experts say there is no threat
Since then it has been the scene of almost 200 eruptions, making it one of the world's most closely-studied volcanoes.

Over the last two decades alone, Mount Etna has seen 46 eruptions.

Mount Etna's last significant eruption was in 1992 when two streams of lava threatened the village of Zafferana.

Italian and US military diverted the lava flow away from the village with spectacular man-made explosions on the volcano's slopes until the eruption subsided.

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