The Mount Etna volcano on the southern Italian island of Sicily erupted this weekend spewing ash and volcanic debris more than 300 metres into the air and sending lava down its slopes.

This is the seventh time that Mount Etna has erupted in 2011. The weekend eruption was the fourth and largest in July. The last eruption occurred on 19 July.

Italian officials had since said the 11,000-foot-tall volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, had calmed down after more that two weeks of activity. Residents in surrounding areas had been warned however, that the Sicilian volcano might have fallen back into a short-lived slumber and another "active phase may just be around the corner."

Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity.

On 12-13 January 2011 lava fountaining occurred from the vent on the east flank of Etna's Southeast Crater cone, lasting more than 1.5 hours. Italian Authorities were forced to temporarily close airports for a couple of hours while the ash cloud cleared.

Sicily, Italy
© MODIS
Sicily, Italy, pictured from space on Sunday, 31 July 2011.