Sudden Mount Etna Eruption Injures 10 BBC Crew Filming Report On Volcano

Europe is home to many volcanoes that cause devastating results, which is why scientists are always on alert when one shows any unusual activity. Among the active volcanoes making headlines recently is Mount Etna in Sicily.

Mount Etna, one of the world's most active volcanoes, has been showing various signs of activity since 2011, from ash cloud eruptions to actual lava flows. Its most recent activity, on March 16, was caught up close and on camera by a BBC film crew that was on site to report about advancements in volcano monitoring technology.

The Shocking Surprise

BBC Science correspondent Rebecca Morelle, along with camerawoman Rachel Price and other film crew members, was excited when they arrived in Sicily and found out that Mt. Etna has been showing signs of activity. They all went up the summit on March 15 to begin the segment but the presence of clouds forced the team to cut the filming short.

The crew went up the volcano again on March 16, along with some tourists, to continue filming their segment since there was new volcanic activity on that day. However, as they hiked up Mt. Etna, they were surprised when the volcano turned violent with a sudden eruption and began pelting lava rocks at them. "The conditions were perfect - blue skies and barely any wind [...] We had come to see a lava flow that had appeared overnight [...] 20 minutes after arriving, a burst of white steam emerged from the lava [...] Then, moments later, there was an explosion [...] boiling rocks and boulders were flung up high into the air. They started to rain down in every direction. Everyone started to run, pelted with the deadly, hot debris. But it was impossible to see - steam from the explosion had caused a whiteout," Morelle recounts.

What Really Happened

According to the scientists from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology Morelle's team was with, the sudden eruption happened when the lava that was slowly flowing down the slope made contact with the snow and ice, causing a huge explosion.

Price kept the camera rolling even as they hurried down the volcano and despite getting hit on the back with a lump of heated rock. Here's a photo of Price and her coat that Morelle shared on Twitter.

The Massive Eruption

Mt. Etna's eruption was definitely unexpected and extremely dangerous. The European Space Agency's Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite was able to capture the incident from space. Take a look at the photo below.

As for Morelle, she says she definitely doesn't want a repeat of their harrowing experience on Mt. Etna and the sudden eruption is a reminder of how unpredictable forces of nature could be.

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