Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Stromboli erupts again!

ROME - An Italian volcanic island popular with tourists has started to erupt more violently than usual, sending a flow of lava into the sea, emergency services said today, advising locals to keep away from the danger areas.

"There's a general alert," said a member of the Civil Protection for the Aeolian Islands, off Sicily. "The emergency services are monitoring the situation, clearing zones at risk ... But at the moment we don't foresee an evacuation."

Stromboli, a classic cone-shaped island, is a constantly active volcano, attracting thousands of visitors every year to climb to its summit and admire the regular blasts of molten rock, but more powerful eruptions can be dangerous.

The last time, in December 2002, a large eruption caused the island to be closed to visitors for months. Buildings around the coast were damaged when a huge chunk of rock broke off and plunged into the sea, causing a 10-metre tsunami.

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