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Volcanic Vortex Rings

Volcanic Vortex Rings:


Mount Etna, the largest volcano in Europe, and among the world’s most active volcanoes, has been sending up almost perfect rings of smoke into the air, which is a rare phenomenon that scientists refer to as volcanic vortex rings.

  • Vortex rings are generated when gas, predominantly water vapour, is released rapidly through a vent in the crater.
  • The vent that has opened up in volcano’s crater is almost perfectly circular, so the rings that have been seen are also circular.
  • Volcanic vortex rings were first observed at Etna in 1724 and have since been documented at various volcanoes worldwide.
  • These rings can remain in the air for up to 10 minutes but tend to disintegrate quickly if conditions are windy and turbulent.
  • Mount Etna is a stratovolcano, which means it is composed of layers of lava, ash, and rocks that have accumulated over thousands of years of eruptions.
  • Etna’s summit has five craters, which are responsible for most of the volcano’s eruptions and hundreds of lateral vents that can produce different types of eruptions, such as explosive, effusive, or mixed.
  • It is located on the east coast of Sicily, an island in the Mediterranean Sea that belongs to Italy.
  • Mount Etna has been erupting almost continuously since 1500 BC, making it one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
  • Etna has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2013.