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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Volcanic eruption on the island of La Palma in the Canaries – a river of lava destroys houses

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Lava flowing from the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Canarian island of La Palma will not reach the Atlantic waters on Monday, local authorities said in the evening. Previously, they had been warned of the risk of explosion and the release of toxic gases. So far, more than five thousand people have been evacuated and nearly 100 homes have been damaged.

Lava from the volcano that erupted on the Spanish island of La Palma on Sunday is moving slower than originally predicted and will not reach the Atlantic Ocean on Monday night, Reuters Agency reported on Monday evening, citing local emergency officials. According to earlier forecasts, the lava was supposed to reach the coast around 9 PM on Monday.

The lava flow is roughly halfway between the volcano and the shoreline, officials said. Previously, there were warnings about the risk of an explosion and the release of clouds of toxic gases when the lava reaches the water.

Volcanic eruption on the island of La Palma. Lava is a threat to life and health

The island is traversed by a lava river with a temperature of 1075 degrees Celsius, moving at a speed of 700 meters per hour towards the coast. According to the Prime Minister of the Canary Islands, Angel Victor Torres, two lava flows flow through the unpopulated area towards the sea. So far, no one has been hurt.

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– Lava is moving towards the coast, material damage will be noted. According to experts, there is about 17-20 million cubic meters of lava there, said Cadena Ser, prime minister of the region, Angel Victor Torres, in the morning.

Volcanic eruption on the island of La Palma. Evacuation

“So far, about five thousand people, including 500 tourists, have been evacuated from municipalities threatened by a volcanic eruption on the island of La Palma,” local police said on Sunday night.

Regional authorities reported about 100 houses with lava damage and about 20 houses completely destroyed. “Lava has already consumed 20 houses in the village of El Paso and stretches of road,” Mayor Sergio Rodriguez said Monday morning on TVE radio station. “We’re monitoring its trajectory,” Rodriguez pointed out.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrived in the Canary Islands late Sunday evening. The head of the Spanish government canceled his trip to New York for a session of the UN General Assembly in order to closely follow the development of the situation on the island of La Palma.

As reported on Sunday by the authorities of La Palma in the Canary Islands, a huge pillar of smoke rose into the air after a volcanic eruption on Sunday at 3.15pm local time (4.15pm 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.

Canary Islands – flights canceled due to volcanic eruption

Local airline Binter canceled four flights from the neighboring island of La Gomera following a volcanic eruption. They posted a recording on Twitter showing plumes of smoke and ash emerging from inside Cumbre Vieja.

Civil Aviation Authority Enaire said on Monday that the airspace over the Canary Islands is open despite the volcano’s activity. “There is no problem with visibility,” he said.

La Palma and seismic activity

According to experts from the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute (Involcan), the eruption in the Cumbre Vieja zone is of the crevice type, which means that fractures have opened due to the accumulation and pressure of subsurface magma in the ground. Currently, there are at least eight such fissures, through which lava and incandescent stones emerge.

Cumbre Vieja is a volcanic ridge with many craters. For over a week there have been so-called seismic swarms – numerous small tremors. Last Friday, it was estimated that the pressure of subsurface magma in the area had raised this part of the island by 15 centimeters. Experts pointed out that the epicenters are getting closer and closer to the surface.

The last major eruption in this area – one of the most active volcanic regions in the Canary Islands – occurred in 1971. Then one person died – trying to photograph the lava stream. However, there was no significant damage.

According to the Spanish National Geographic Institute (ING), the earliest recorded eruption on La Palma was in 1430.

Main photo source: PAP / EPA / RAMON DE LA ROCHA

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