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The volcano Etna on Sicily is sliding into the Mediterranean Sea, scientists say

Mount Etna spews lava above the Sicilian town of Riposto in April 2017.

(AP Photo/Salvatore Allegra)

Mount Etna – Europe’s highest active volcano is slidable in the direction of the sea, which could have “disastrous consequences”, scientists have warned.

A team of British experts discovered the giant volcano on the east coast of the island of Sicily, Italy, is the edge closer to the Mediterranean Sea, with 0.6 inches per year, which can lead to collapse.

The Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity with a history of violent outbursts.

Open University geologist Dr. John Murray has spent nearly 50 years studying the volcano and is of the opinion this is the first slide of this size to be included.

He and his team of scientists have reported their astonishing findings in The Bulletin of Volcanology. Their examination of the GPS-measurements for 11 years between 2001 and 2012.

Writing in the report of Dr Murray and his team said that this “strong geologic evidence” of the sliding doors have a natural tendency to result in a “large catastrophic sector collapse”, and “disastrous consequences” such as landslides.

Dr Murray told the BBC: “I would say there is currently no reason for panic, but we need to keep an eye on, especially to see whether there is an acceleration in the movement.”

The data suggest that the mountain is moving in an east-south-easterly direction, along a gentle slope of 1-3 degrees in the direction of the coastal city of Giarre, which is about 9.3 km away.

The motion has been put down to the underlying platform of weak, ductile sediments.

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