10 injured as quake from Mount Etna jolts Sicily

Volcanic ash forces overnight closure of Catania airport

The 4.8 magnitude quake early Wednesday damaged some rural homes, including structures that had been abandoned years ago, toppled a statue in a church in the town of Santa Venerina and opened up cracks on a highway, which was closed for inspection.

An elderly woman suffered multiple fractures, Agi news agency reported, while 18 people made it on their own to hospital to be treated for minor cuts and shock.

The region consists mainly of small farm towns and vineyards.

Italy's Mount Etna spews the ash and smoke in Sicily, Italy Monday in this still image from a video obtained by Reuters TV.

Italy's national seismology institute said the quake had a magnitude of 4.8 on the open-ended Richter scale and 4.9 on the moment magnitude scale, which relates to the amount the ground slips.

A smoke column comes out of the Mount Etna volcano in Catania, Italy, on December 24. Nearby villages found themselves covered by volcanic ash, and people on the mountainside were evacuated. The epicentre was below the north of Catania, and the damage caused several families to spend the night in the streets.

Smoke rises from Mount Etna as seen at sunset from the city of Giarre Catania on Dec. 26 2018.
GIOVANNI ISOLINO  
AFP  Getty Images
Smoke rises from Mount Etna as seen at sunset from the city of Giarre Catania on Dec. 26 2018. GIOVANNI ISOLINO AFP Getty Images

Italian firefighters gather in front of a damaged house in Fleri, Sicily, after the natural disaster sparked by an eruption at Mount Etna. In the commune of Santa Venus, the plaster of the main church of Santa Maria del Carmelo crumbled.

Mount Etna is 3,300 metres high, and has a record of regular eruptions over the past 2,700 years.

Its most recent eruptions occurred in the spring of 2017 and its last major eruption in the 2008/2009 winter.

The INGV said the quake's epicentre was nearly exactly where a 6.3-magnitude shock hit on Feb 20, 1818.

Specialists believe the two events are likely related.

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