"An eruption by Mount Etna on the Italian island of Sicily left a nearby airport closed and ... locals turning up early for work.

The volcano spewed lava on to its south-eastern slopes on Saturday afternoon and winds swept ash further afield, stopping flights at Catania's Fontanarossa airport.

The strong eruption - Etna's fifth since the beginning of the year - was shortlived, but left the airport closed overnight.

"Bemused Sicilians, meanwhile, were quick to blame the volcano after thousands noticed that their clocks were running 15 minutes fast. The fast forward time keeping has affected a wide spectrum of digital clocks and watches - from computers through to alarm clocks.

It was spotted when large numbers of locals started turning up for work early, and a Facebook page was organised for those involved to compare notes.

As well as Etna's volcanic activity, users have so far blamed aliens, poltergeists, solar explosions and electrical disturbances caused by underwater cables.

Fontanarossa airport was reopened at 7am local time after seven sweeping machines worked through the night to clear the runway of ash. The cause of the island-wide clock confusion remains unknown.

Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe at 3,295m (10,810ft). The last eruption was in May."