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Mount Etna Lava Halts Famed Bicycle Race May 20, 2011
Mount Etna spewing fountains of lava
The Sicilian city of Catania can be seen in the distance behind huge fountains of Etna lava.
Sicily’s Mount Etna erupted with fountains of molten rock and strong tremors that disrupted a stage of the Giro d’Italia bicycling race.

Ash fell over Catania and villages surrounding the volcano. The main airport was temporarily closed to air traffic due to the hazard posed by the ash.

In January, Etna pelted nearby areas with missiles of hot lava, also forcing the closure of Catania’s Fontanarossa airport.

Etna is in a nearly constant state of activity, but it is not considered especially dangerous.

Its slopes are home to farms and vineyards that make use of soil made rich by centuries of regular eruptions.

Photo: Italian Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology