It’s just a way of life for people who live near it. It’s Europe’s most active volcano, and it erupted over the weekend on the island of Sicily.

Mt. Etna sent plumes of smoke and ash into the air and a stream of lava down the side of the mountain. No one was forced to evacuate, and there was no damage. Etna’s last major eruption was in 1992, but it’s been an active volcano with occasional eruptions for hundreds of years.

Sometimes volcanoes can be dormant for hundreds of thousands of years before they become active again. Sometimes they come back to life with a whimper, but many times they explode just like Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD that buried the town of Pompeii. Most people in the Phillipines never gave Mount Pinatubo a second thought until it exploded in 1991. It was the largest volcanic explosion of the 20th century and affected the climate for the next two years, even causing a worldwide drop in temperature because of the haze it created around the world.

The eruptions of Mount Tambora in 1815 and Krakatoa in 1883 in Indonesia were some of the most destructive in recorded history. The death toll from Krakatoa was more than 36,000 from the explosion itself and from the tsunamis it created. The effects were felt around the world for years.

Still many of the most recent volcano explosions are small compared to some of the ones that have happened in the early history of the earth. Some of them have been hundreds of times larger. It’s just a reminder of the awesome power and force of nature.