Mt. Etna, Sicily, July 2001 - picture 24
NOAA Satellite Images, provided by Ferdinand Valk
On this satellite picture, the path of the eruption cloud is clearly visible. It stretches over wide parts of the Mediterranean Sea and even reaches North Africa. The cloud carries fertile volcanic ash but also toxic sulfuric acid over hundreds of kilometres downwind. In comparison to larger eruptions like the ones at Mt. St. Helens (1980) or Krakatau (1883), this cloud is disapperingly small. And one has to bear in mind that even these eruptions were just small coughs compared with the gigantic eruptions of past times - such as in Taupo, New Zealand or the Yellowstone Caldera in North America.
And sooner or later they will happen again.