Impromptu geyser in Rome

On 30 January a burst water pipe under Piazza di S. Emerenziana in Rome's Quartiere Africano district sent water exploding upwards into a 20-metre high jet, leading to chaotic scenes and drawing crowds of curious onlookers.

According to witnesses the incident was preceded by a "deafening roar" before the water burst through the tarmac and rose higher than the surrounding seven-storey apartment buildings. One onlooker said it evoked scenes of the "Old Faithful" geyser in America's Yellowstone Park.

Nobody was injured in the event which happened at around 11.30 at the intersection between Piazza di S. Emerenziana and Viale Eritrea, flooding the entire square as well as a stretch of nearby Via Nemorense, and leading to numerous street closures.

Authorities resolved the problem after a few hours, but due to the large capacity of the broken water pipe they had to be careful to avoid the risk of further explosions elsewhere in the city by not overloading other pipes.