Mt Etna Volcano

After reports of mysterious mass animal deaths around the planet, photos of a fierce volcanic eruption might confirm that the end of the world is nigh.

Thankfully, these magnificent pictures of Mount Etna's latest eruption are merely a chance to revel in the awesome power of nature rather than a reason to start stocking up on canned goods.

The 3,329-metre (10,922-feet) volcano erupted, lighting up the Sicilian sky and providing amazing scenery for the village of Milo, just 12 kilometres away.

Etna is Europe's tallest and most active volcano and has seen increased activity in recent months yet its seismic might poses no immediate threat to the nearby towns and cities.

While the Sicilian communities near the volcano were not threatened by the latest eruption, it has  not been established whether an ash cloud has been created by Etna's new activity.

The volcano has been active for around half a million years, with 15,000 people killed during its most violent eruption in 1669.

While its modern eruptions have rarely threatened the inhabited areas in the volcano's vicinity, a lengthy blast in 2002 was spectacular enough for footage of it to be included in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.