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July 19, 2011
Mt. Etna can be identified near the center of this near vertical STS-110 image from the Space Shuttle Atlantis, primarily by the radial drainage pattern that radiates away from the snow-capped summit. A small smoke or ash plume is originating from an area near the summit of the volcano. The darker-appearing areas radiating away from the summit and on the flanks of the volcano show the location of the more recent lava flows. Mt. Etna is currently one of the most studied and monitored volcanoes in the world. Because of the recent increased level of volcanic activity, many of the communities that encircle the flanks of the volcano could be threatened by future lava flows, according to geologists familiar with this area. A section of the east-west trending, forested Nebrodi Mountains (partially obscured by clouds in this image) form the northern boundary of the volcano.

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