Mount Etna sliding towards sea: Report

Mount Etna erupts
Italy's Mount Etna, Europe's tallest and most active volcano, spews lava as it erupts on the southern island of Sicily, Italy February 28, 2017. Reuters

Europe's most active volcano, Mount Etna on the Italian island of Sicily, was sliding towards the Mediterranean sea at a rate of 14mm per year, according to a report.

"I would say there is currently no cause for alarm, but it is something we need to keep an eye on, especially to see if there is an acceleration in this motion," the report's lead author John Murray told the BBC.

The UK-led team of scientists have said the situation will need careful monitoring because it may lead to increased hazards at Etna in the future.

The group has published its findings in the Bulletin of Volcanology.

Murray's team has conducted lab experiments to illustrate how this works. The group believes it is the first time that "basement sliding" of an entire active volcano has been directly observed.

"The thing to watch I guess is if in 10 years' time the rate of movement has doubled -- that would be a warning. If it's halved, I'd say there really is nothing to worry about," Murray added. (IANS)