On the morning of the 20th of March, a long series of earthquakes spread alarm throughout all the cities and numerous villages that are scattered over the sides of Mt. Etna. The shocks followed each other at intervals of a few minutes; dull subterranean rumblings were heard; and a catastrophe was seen to be impending. Toward evening the ground cracked at the lower part of the south side of the mountain, at the limit of the cultivated zone, and at four kilometers to the north of the village of Nicolosi. There formed on the earth a large number of very wide fissures, through which escaped great volumes of steam and gases which enveloped the mountain in a thick haze; and toward night, a very bright red light, which, seen from Catania, seemed to come out in great waves from the foot of the mountain, announced the coming of the lava.
ERUPTION OF MOUNT ETNA, MARCH 22, 1883.
Eleven eruptions occurred during the night, and shot into the air fiery scoriae which, in a short time, formed three hillocks from forty to fifty meters in height. The jet of scoriae was accompanied with strong detonations, and the oscillations of the ground were of such violence that the bells in the villages of Nicolosi and Pedara rang of themselves. The general consternation was the greater in that the locality in which the eruptive phenomena were manifesting themselves was nearly the same as that which formed the theater of the celebrated eruption of 1669. This locality overlooks an inclined plane which is given up to cultivation, and in which are scattered, at a short distance from the place of the eruption, twelve villages having a total population of 20,000 inhabitants. On the second day the character, of the eruption had become of a very alarming character. New fissures showed themselves up to the vicinity of Nicolosi, and the lava flowed in great waves over the circumjacent lands. This seemed to indicate a lengthy eruption; but, to the surprise of those interested in volcanic phenomena, on the third day the eruptive movement began to decrease, and, during the night, stopped entirely. This was a very fortunate circumstance, for this eruption would have caused immense damages.
It cannot be disguised, however, that the eruptive attendants of this conflagration remain under conditions such as to constitute a permanent danger for the neighboring villages. It has happened, in fact, that in consequence of the quick cessation of the eruption, those secondary phenomena through which nature usually provides a solid closing of the parasitic craters have not occurred. So it is probable that when a new eruption takes place it will be at the same point at which manifested itself the one that has just abated. - La Nature.