Inside the popular island paradise that hides a deadly secret

Sitting among the quiet island of Stromboli, Italy, is a ticking time bomb that has also made the island home.

The 300-full time residents are used to the rumbles that frequently disturb the island that’s surrounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The rumbles are due to a deadly volcanic mountain that rises 924 metres above sea level and extends more than 1,000 metres below.

Earlier this year, the volcano erupted twice, separated by 30 seconds.

Residents and tourists were quickly evacuated from the island as lava spat from the active mouths of the mountain. 

“It was like being in hell because of the rain of fire coming from the sky,” Stromboli priest Giovanni Longo told local media.

The explosion killed one hiker and covered the island in ash.

After the small town recovered, there was a “high intensity” blast just two months later. 

No one was injured, but footage emerged of residents fleeing the island in a panic.

Experts believe that the volcano on the island has been in nearly continuous eruption for at least 2,000 years, but it’s the unknown that keeps residents and tourists on edge.

More and more tourists are heading to the island to witness the powerful experience of a volcanic eruption.

“Volcanoes are one of the forces of nature that truly are beyond human power to control: We can’t do anything about eruptions, other than get out of the way,” Amy Donovan, a geographer at the University of Cambridge, wrote for a paper published in December with the Royal Geographical Society.

This article originally appeared on Over60.