Mount Etna, a 3320 m active stratovolcano on eastern Sicily, erupted on Saturday 26 October 2013, producing an ash column which briefly closed airspace over the island and and throwing hot ash and lava out of its crater. This follows a series of small Earthquakes beneath the volcano on Friday 25 October. The eruption was not considered large enough for an evacuation of nearby villages. Etna is usually considered to be the tallest volcano in Europe (Mount Teide on Tenerife is taller, and being part of Spain lies within political Europe, though it is actually part of the African tectonic plate), as well as its most active. Etna is seldom completely inactive, though it has more and less active periods. The last major eruption on Etna occurred in 1993, when a lava flow threatened the town of Zafferana.
Ash column over Mount Etna on Saturday 26 October 2013. Reuters.
Southeastern Italy lies on the edge of the Eurasian Plate, close to its margin with Africa. The African Plate is being subducted beneath Italy on along a margin that cuts through the island of Sicily. The African plate is being subducted beneath Italy, and as it sinks is melted by the friction and heat of the Earth's interior. Some of the melted material then rises through the overlying plate fuelling the volcanoes of southern Italy.
The location of Mount Etna. Google Maps.