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Italian volcano eruption forces airport closure

by Staff Writers
Rome (AFP) May 12, 2011
Lava and ash spewed out of a crater of the giant Etna volcano in southern Italy during a brief eruption overnight that forced the closure of nearby Catania airport, a research institute said on Thursday.

The eruption was at its most intense between 0000 GMT and 0400 GMT and was accompanied by slight tremors but the lava flow was not strong and went mostly into uninhabited areas, the Institute for Geophysics and Vulcanology said.

Catania airport's runway was covered in volcanic ash and has been closed.

Teams were also cleaning up ash from an area near the volcano where cyclists taking part in the Giro d'Italia are due to pass on Sunday.

Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe at 3,295 metres (10,810 feet).

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