A smoke column comes out of the Etna volcano in Catania, Italy, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. The Mount Etna observatory says lava and ash are spewing from a new fracture on the active Sicilian volcano amid an unusually high level of seismic activity. (Orietta Scardino/ANSA via AP)

Lava, ash spew from new fracture on Italy's Mount Etna

December 24, 2018 - 7:33 am

MILAN (AP) — The Mount Etna observatory says lava and ash are spewing from a new fracture on the active Sicilian volcano amid an unusually high level of seismic activity.

The Etna observatory said a swarm of 130 tremors have been recorded by Monday midday, the most powerful registering a magnitude of 4.0. It reported lava flows from the volcano and said a new fracture had opened near its southeast crater.

The owner of a refuge on the volcano says hikers are being brought down from higher elevations to 1,900 meters (6,230 feet) for their safety. But there are no reports of injuries, and so far the spewing ash was not causing disruptions to residents of nearby towns and cities.

Etna, the largest of Italy's three active volcanoes, has been particularly active since July.