Etna continues to show its might, recently letting everyone know it's still very much alive. NASA's Terra satellite
captured the plume from the summit as it passed overhead on January 11, 2011. This eruption was spectacular from the ground (as you can see in this video of the lava fountains
), but seems almost serene and gentle from orbit.
Don't be fooled. The plume shut down a nearby airport (volcanic ash is composed of very spiky and sharp-edged glass and silicates which can be dangerous to breathe and can damage plane engines in flight) and causes many other snarls in the lives of Sicilians.Image credit: MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center