From the ABC 7 Weather team

Erupting Mt. Etna coughs up a smoke ring (VIDEO)

August 16, 2011 - 01:15 PM
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Who knew volcanoes could blow rings?

Look at Mt. Etna blowing a smoke ring like she's Coolio McSmoothington. Who knew that volcanoes could even do this? Is there a giant, albeit ash-stained tongue inside every crater, thrashing about and trying to make neat shapes in the smoke?

Mt. Etna, the most active volcano in Europe, is indeed erupting right now, hurling out superheated gases and light, porous rocks that are a lucky girl's delight to collect. But this bizarre footage comes from an earlier paroxysm in June 2000. It was shot by naturalist filmmaker Geoff Mackley, who apparently has documented every major meteorological event in history. (Here he is at the recent, once-in-a-lifetime snowfall in New Zealand.)

Mackley doesn't indicate on his website what mephitic forces conspired to create the jumbo-sized ring of smoke or steam. But it's happened at least once before, during the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruption. The geologist who photographed that ring wafting up into the sky, Joseph Licciardi, later told Discovery News that the process is a "mystery":

It's possible that bursts of gas through narrow vents would do the job, much like cigar or cigarette smokers blow rings with their mouths.

Video of Etna's ring follows the jump.

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