Jeff Schmaltz MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA-GSFC
An eruption of Mount Etna as captured in a new image from NASA's Terra satellite.
updated 8/17/2011 6:36:15 PM ET 2011-08-17T22:36:15

Throughout 2011, activity at Sicily's Mount Etna has been characterized by paroxysms: short, violent bursts of activity.

Each event has included volcanic tremors, ash emissions and lava flows centered around the New Southeast Crater, just below the summit. On Aug. 12, Etna had its 10th paroxysm of the year, which was captured in a new natural-color image from NASA's Terra satellite. Etna spewed a thick white plume of gas and ash to the southeast, toward the nearby city of Catania.

The ash cloud was produced by vigorous lava fountaining at the New Southeast Crater.

The Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center estimated ash emissions reached an altitude of 14,000 feet; 2,000 feet above the 10,925-foot summit.

Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and one of the world's most well-known volcanic peaks. While 2010 was an exceptionally calm year for Etna, it is nearly constantly volcanically active and rarely a year passes without Etna erupting.

See all the latest action on the Etna's webcams.

This story was provided by OurAmazingPlanet, sister site to Space.com.

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