On Sunday, the Teneguia volcano erupted on one of the Canary Islands – La Palma. A few hours before the eruption, 130 intense tremors were recorded.
The Canary Islands’ La Palma authorities reported on Sunday that a huge column of smoke rose into the air after the volcanic eruption at 5:00 p.m. 15.15 local time (16.15 in Poland) in the Cumbre Vieja National Park in the south of the island. Hours before the eruption, seismic activity intensified around the volcanic crater ridge of Cumbre Vieja, where 130 intense quakes were recorded.
La Palma. Evacuation of the population
The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute (Involcan) reported shortly before the volcanic eruption that the island experienced a magnitude 4.2 quake, the largest in more than a week when seismic activity began in the region. Volcanologist Stavros Meletlidis said the eruption opened five fissures in the hillside.
A few hours after the eruption, the lava flowed down the slopes like a river. “Never go near the lava flow,” warned city officials. “If there is volcanic ash, stay in your homes,” they added.
Authorities have issued a mandatory evacuation order for four villages, including El Paso and Los Llanos de Aridane. It is estimated that over a thousand people from several municipalities may be evacuated.
On Sunday, local authorities closed forest trails and tourist routes and canceled cultural events. Roads are inspected and many of them are partially closed to traffic.
Canary Islands. Seismic swarms
Almost 21,000 tremors have been recorded on the island of La Palma, which belongs to the Canary Islands archipelago since September 10, Spanish radio Cope reported on Friday, September 17, citing experts from the Volcanological Institute (Involcan). The island authorities then issued a yellow alert regarding the volcanic eruption – the second on a four-point, increasing scale.
Teneguia is part of Cumbre Vieja, a volcanic ridge with many craters. For over a week there have been so-called seismic swarms – numerous small tremors. They were recorded just a few kilometers from the Teneguia volcano. Last Friday, it was estimated that the pressure of subsurface magma around Cumbre Vieja had raised this part of the island by 15 centimeters. Experts pointed out that the epicenters are getting closer and closer to the surface.
Seismic activity could increase and be felt by the population, and a volcanic eruption could occur in the next days or weeks, experts warned two days ago.
La Palma and seismic activity
The increase in the volcano’s seismic activity has been noted since 2017. Teneguia last erupted in 1971, for over three weeks lava was coming out of the volcano’s interior
In 2011, an underwater volcanic eruption took place near the coast of the island of El Hierro adjacent to La Palma, after many weeks of intense seismic activity.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / Miguel Calero