Earthquake swarm rocks Etna – Schools evacuated in three nearby towns

A 3.5-magnitude earthquake and seismic swarm hit the Mt Etna area Monday causing schools to be evacuated in three nearby towns, Ragalna, Nicolosi and Bronte.

All in all, around 60 tremors were felt. People called the police. No reports of injuries or property damage.

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An earthquake swarm of at least 60 quakes rocked Mount Etna in Italy on January 30, 2017. Seismogram from INGV Catania via INGV – Aggiornamento attivita sismica all’Etna del 30.01.2017 / 12h45

On 30 January, a seismic swarm was recorded on the south-west slope of Mount Etna. The quakes ranged between 2.1 and 3.5 in magnitude at a depth between 10 and 15 km.

The seismic activity then continued, but was not accompanied by anomalies in the geophysical parameters, in particular the amplitude of the volcanic tremor which was maintained in moderately low stationary values ​​typical of recent months.

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The enhanced seismic activity my indicate an imminent major eruption of the volcano Etna. Location map of the more than 60 earthquakes that hit Etna on January 30, 2017. via INGV – Aggiornamento attivita sismica all’Etna del 30.01.2017 / 12h45

Boris Behncke, a specialist volcanologist living in front of the Italian volcanic peak, explains:” The thrust of deep magma may have caused this seismic swarm. In the past, such event were observed a few weeks or months before a major eruption. It is however still too early to say if this earthquake sequence is a precursor of a lateral eruption… But it will happen sooner or later.

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