Out of Etna came a huge, eerie cloud
Had Etna's latest paroxysm occurred on a windy, moonless night, it might have passed into history as one of the less spectacular events of this type. Less violent, less complex, and less dramatic, the paroxysm on the early morning of 9 February 2012 (the 20th since the current series began in January 2011), occurred during the nearly full moon, with clear skies (after many days of poor visibility) and almost no wind. Plus, it continued until dawn. This is a winning recipe, and so all of us who work on Etna or just go for it for passion had the chance to enjoy yet another one of these marvellous events that I collectively call "The Greatest Show On Earth".
The ash and gas cloud that rose during this latest paroxysm rose a few kilometers into the sky and then spread out into a mushroom (or umbrella) cloud, slowly drifting southwestward. The snow-coverd mountain and its brightly incandescent lava flow and fountains is in the lower right corner of the image. This was taken in the hills just upslope from my home village Trecastagni