Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, has erupted again, showering volcanic ash — effectively raining rocks — on towns dotting the mountain’s slopes and nearby Taormina on the Italian island of Sicily.
The eruption Saturday did not force any evacuations, but a highway was closed for half an hour as a precaution. Authorities also briefly closed two of four air corridors serving the nearby Catania airport but air traffic was not interrupted.
It did, however, require locals to sweep their stoops and cars of rocks and walk around with umbrellas for protection.
Watch it rain rocks:
Etna erupts occasionally, with its last major eruption in 1992.
Etna isn’t the only recent volcanic activity though.
Powerful bursts of hot ash and gravel erupted from a rumbling volcano in western Indonesia early Monday, sending panicked villagers streaming down the sides of the mountain.
Six new eruptions in the morning sent lava and searing gas tumbling up nearly a mile down the slopes of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province. Volcanic material spewed as high as 6,500 feet into the air a day after authorities had raised the volcano’s alert status to the highest level.
About 15,000 people have been evacuated from 17 villages in the danger zone 3 miles around the crater, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.
“Everything turned hot surrounding us,” said Jatah Surbakti, a 45-year-old farmer who fled with his wife and four children to a shelter on trucks provided by the local disaster agency, along with hundreds other villagers.
“We were running in panic under the rain of ash and gravel. … I heard many women and children screaming and crying,” he said, adding that his fruit and vegetable farms were destroyed by the ash and his children’s schools were disrupted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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