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Etna eruption clearly visible from space

(CNN) -- The smoke and ash blown into the sky by the eruption of Italy's Mount Etna can be clearly seen from space. A giant plume climbing in the atmosphere from the volcano is visible from the orbiting space station Alpha.

Space station commander Yury Usachev took this digital image of the ash plume on July 22.

The space station is orbiting at an altitude averaging 240 miles (385 kilometers) above Earth, according to NASA's Human Spaceflight Web site.

Europe's most active volcano has been emitting smoke and ash over eastern Sicily since a new fissure cracked open on July 18, sending a lava flow down the volcano's southern slope.

The eruption has caused over $3 million in damage, including losses in tourism and agriculture, according to the local government.

Etna, which towers 3,310 meters (10,860 feet) above Sicily, comes to life every few months. The last major eruption was in 1992.

• Etna Decade Volcano, Sicily, Italy
• Mt. Etna, Sicily, Italy
• Volcanoes Around The World
• The Etna Volcano Park

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