Italy's Stromboli Volcano erupts, people told to leave coast*
By Antonio Parrinello
Wednesday, February 28, 2007; 8:33 AM
STROMBOLI, Italy (Reuters) - Spectacular eruptions from the volcano on
the southern Italian island of Stromboli may cause tidal waves, and all
locals and tourists should stay away from the coast, emergency services
said on Wednesday.
Two big lava flows burst out of Stromboli's side on Tuesday, sending up
vast plumes of steam as they plunged into the Mediterranean waters
below. Authorities said there was no immediate risk to people living on
the island, off the coast of Sicily.
"The eruption (lava flows) are very well fed," said Enzo Boschi, head of
Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology.
"But there's no reason to think that anything extraordinary will happen
in the short term. The population is not at risk."
Locals fear a repeat of the events of December 2002 when a similar
upsurge in volcanic activity caused a massive chunk of rock to drop into
the sea, causing a 10-meter (33 foot) tidal wave that ruined houses
close to the shore.
Emergency sirens sounded on the island when the new eruption began and
local authorities ordered all residents to move to at least 10 meters
above the water line.
The lava is flowing down an uninhabited part of the island and the risk,
either of a greater eruption or of a tsunami, have not been deemed great
enough to prompt a full-scale evacuation.
In winter only a few hundred people live on Stromboli, but the
population swells to several thousand in the summer.
Tourists are drawn to climb to the 924 meter (3,000 ft) summit of the
live volcano and peer down into its crater as the volcano blasts molten
rock high into the sky.
The island was the setting for a 1950 movie starring Ingrid Bergman and
in recent decades has, along with other islands in the Aeolian
archipelago, become a favorite location for holiday homes for the rich
Designers Dolce & Gabbana, writer Umberto Eco and Italian President
Giorgio Napolitano are all reported to have homes on Stromboli.
(Additional reporting by Antonella Ciancio in Milan)