Mount Etna, one of the word's most active volcanoes, sparked fears of a fiery eruption on Thursday after a rapid succession of powerful tremors rocked the fiery mountain.

Residents of the ancient city of Catania on the eastern shores of Sicily were struck with panic after several shocks reverberated through Etna in just five minutes of each other.

The terrifying Etna which only sits 18miles from the coastal town, was rocked by three shallow tremors on its southern slopes.

The National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) of Catania recorded the shocks in the early morning hours.

The strongest of the quakes, of magnitude 3.3, struck at 9.50am local time just over 4 miles north of Ragalna, a small commune southeast of Palermo.

Just a minute prior to it, in the same area, a magnitude 2.8 tremor was detected.

Thereafter a third magnitude 2.5 tremor was felt.

The three quakes were relatively shallow, striking at depths between zero and two km deep.

Thankfully no local residents or buildings were damaged in the quakes.

Mount Etna is a classic example of a stratovolcano towering over the eastern part of Sicily at a height of 3,350m.

Etna is one of the volcanoes with the longest historic records of eruptions, going back more than 2000 years

Volcano Discovery

Etna is recognised as one of the most active volcanoes in the world with an almost constant rate of activity.

According to volcanic trackers at Volcano Discovery, the volcano is currently undergoing a state of eruption.

Volcano Discovery said: "Mt Etna on Sicily, locally called 'Mongibello', is Europe's largest and most active volcano.

"Its frequent eruptions are often accompanied by large lava flows, but rarely pose danger to inhabited areas.

"Etna is one of the volcanoes with the longest historic records of eruptions, going back more than 2000 years."

The Mount Etna quakes come off the back of the Philippines volatile Mount Mayon erupting on Thursday morning.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.