The erupting Mount Etna made for some tooth-chipping weather this weekend.

There was a pleasant crunching underfoot this weekend in Sicily, but it wasn't from a newly fallen patina of snow. Rather, the ground was covered in a carpet of pitch-black pebbles, thanks to Mount Etna distributing the contents of her belly all over the region in tooth-chipping showers of rocky hail.

Europe's most active volcano made going outside a hurtful proposition on Saturday, unless you had an umbrella or helmet and chain mail. Rapid bombardments of falling stones clattered off the tops of buildings and cars, making streets look like a convoy of asphalt trucks had overturned. In Giardini-Naxos, a charming beach town just east of the volcano, pedestrians used umbrellas to get across town and used brooms to sweep away the rapidly accumulating gravel. Above, the skies were unusually absent of aircraft. Local airports cancelled flights due to fear of damage.

This eruption, the second for Etna this month after one on November 16, was accompanied by a bodacious show of lighting and lava spurting as high as half a mile into the air. Where did the rocks come from? AccuWeather has this explanation: 

"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.

The storm of volcanic stones was no doubt bad news for auto-body finishes, to judge from the below footage. On the plus side, anybody with a high pain tolerance could strip nude and get a nice exfoliation, expensive spa treatment be damned:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of a WeWork office building
    Life

    What WeWork’s Demise Could Do to NYC Real Estate

    The troubled coworking company is the largest office tenant in New York City. What happens to the city’s commercial real estate market if it goes under?

  2. Design

    Charles Jencks and the Architecture of Compassion

    The celebrated architectural theorist, who died this week, left a down-to-earth legacy: thoughtfully designed buildings and landscapes for people with cancer.

  3. a photo of a semi-autonomous dockless scooter
    Transportation

    One Way to Keep the Sidewalk Clear: Remote-Controlled Scooter-Bots

    A new mobility technology company called Tortoise promises to bring semi-autonomous scooters and e-bikes to market. Why?

  4. A woman stands in front of a house.
    Life

    How Housing Wealth Transferred From Families to Corporations

    The Great Housing Reset has led to growing numbers of single-family homes shifting from owner-occupied housing to investment vehicles for large corporations.

  5. Uber Eats worker
    Life

    The Millennial Urban Lifestyle Is About to Get More Expensive

    As WeWork crashes and Uber bleeds cash, the consumer-tech gold rush may be coming to an end.

×