Italian Volcano Spews Lava Into Sea, Sparks Tsunami Fears

The volcano on the tiny Sicilian island of Stromboli erupted Tuesday, spewing lava into the sea and sparking a warning from authorities worried that it could cause a small tsunami.

The island was almost entirely evacuated in early 2002 after a landslide caused a wave of water that in turn caused several minor injuries. Authorities with Italy's Civil Protection Department feared the latest eruption would cause another such landslide.

"At present there are risks for the population, but the risks are minor for those who are following instructions," Guido Bertolaso, head of the Civil Protection Department, told Sky TG24 News.

Bertolaso said people living on Stromboli have been told to stay 33 feet above sea level, and those on the nearby islands of Panarea and Lipari have been advised to do the same.

Stromboli, 40 miles north of Sicily, is noted for frequent minor eruptions, and attracts tourists eager to see lava inching down the side of the volcano. It is the northernmost of seven islands in the Aeolian archipelago north of Sicily.

In spring 2003, the volcano sent hardened lava raining down on some of the settlements nestled in the folds of its green slopes. A few chunks crashed into houses.

Stromboli is not the only active volcano in southern Italy, with Mount Etna in Sicily coming to life every few months.