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VIDEO: Volcanic Eruption Sends Rocks Raining Down on Italy

By Samantha-Rae Tuthill, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
November 26, 2013; 4:03 AM

Italy's Mt. Etna, the most active volcano in europe, erupted twice in less than a week earlier this month. The first eruption took place on Nov. 16, the second on Nov. 23.

Lava flows were reportedly shot 700-800 meters in the air. Lightning was also present during the explosion, as well as plumes of gas, smoke and ash.

The ash traveled across the region, coating Giardini Naxos on Sicily with black dust. It also pushed across the Strait of Messina and into the mainland. Chunks of ash and rock fell from the sky, as big as 2 centimeters in diameter. Four air corridors that service Sicily's Catania Airport and a local highway were closed for a time as a result of the raining volcanic debris.

Volcanic ash and rock rain down on Sicily - Pioggia di lapilli su Giardini Naxos, 100 miles from where Mt. Etna erupted. Video by TuriBSides.

"They must be spewed high into the sky and then carried by the winds. Those type of rocks are rather light and full of air," said AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Mark Paquette.

Some rocks and ash can also fall from the sky much like rain, as they are sent into the atmosphere and can collect on clouds to be rained down with later precipitation.

In this photo taken on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, Mt. Etna, Europe's most active volcano, spews lava during an eruption as seen from Acireale, near the Sicilian town of Catania, Italy. (AP Photo/Carmelo Imbesi)

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