A new eruption at Mount Etna volcano has forced the closure of Catania Airport in Sicily.
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Mount Etna is Europe's tallest active volcano and is located in Sicily, Italy. Like many other dangerous volcanoes such as Mount St Helens and Mount Vesuvius, Etna is a composite volcano. It has been created by the Earth's active tectonic plate system -- the African plate is moving below the Eurasian plate. As the Eurasian plate moves down into the Earth, it melts. Rising magma erupts at the surface as lava and ash and builds Etna in the process.
Etna has erupted many times during recorded history and is still very active.
There are towns and villages surrounding the mountain, including Catania. In the past, the Italian authorities have used explosives, concrete dams, and ditches to divert lava flows away from these settlements.
Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity. The fertile volcanic soils support extensive agriculture, with vineyards and orchards spread across the lower slopes of the mountain and the broad Plain of Catania to the south. Due to its history of recent activity and nearby population, Mount Etna has been designated a Decade Volcano by the United Nations. In June 2013, it was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
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