Erupting Spanish volcano turns ‘more aggressive’: officials

Erupting Spanish volcano turns ‘more aggressive’: officials

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A cemetery tombstone is covered with ash from a volcano on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain on Friday Oct. 1, 2021. An erupting volcano on a Spanish island off northwest Africa has blown open another fissure on its … more >

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By Daniel Roca and Barry Hatton

Associated Press

Friday, October 1, 2021

LOS LLANOS DE ARIDANE, Canary Islands (AP) – An erupting volcano on a Spanish island off northwest Africa blew open two more fissures on its cone Friday that belched forth lava, with authorities reporting “intense” activity in the area.

The new fissures, about 50 feet apart, sent streaks of fiery red and orange molten rock down toward the sea, parallel to an earlier flow that reached the Atlantic Ocean earlier this week.

The volcano was “much more aggressive,” almost two weeks after it erupted on the island of La Palma, said Miguel Ángel Morcuende, technical director of the Canary Islands‘ emergency volcano response department.

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Overnight, scientists recorded eight new earthquakes up to magnitude 3.5.

The eruption was sending gas and ash almost 20,000 feet into the air, officials said.

The prompt evacuation of more than 6,000 people since the Sept. 19 eruption helped prevent casualties.

A new area of solidified lava where the molten rock is flowing into the sea extends over more than 20 hectares (50 acres).

Officials were monitoring air quality along the shoreline. Sulfur dioxide levels in the area rose but did not represent a health threat, La Palma’s government said.

However, it advised local residents to stay indoors. It also recommended that people on the island wear face masks and eye protection against heavy falls of volcanic ash.

The volcano has so far emitted some 80 million cubic meters of molten rock, scientists estimate – more than double the amount in the island’s last eruption, in 1971.

The lava has so far destroyed or partially destroyed more than 1,000 buildings, including homes and farming infrastructure, and entombed around 1,750 acres.

La Palma, home to about 85,000 people who live mostly from fruit farming and tourism, is part of the volcanic Canary Islands, an archipelago off northwest Africa that is part of Spain’s territory.

The island is roughly 22 miles long and 12 miles wide at its broadest point. Life has continued as usual on most of the island while the volcano is active.

Spain’s Canary Islands volcano still rumbling 5 days after eruption

Spanish island volcano still rumbling 5 days after eruption

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Residents look from a hill as the lava from a volcano eruption flows on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. A volcano on a small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean erupted on … more >

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By Associated Press –

Friday, September 24, 2021

TODOQUE, Canary Islands (AP) – A volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands continued to produce explosions and spew out lava Friday, five days after it erupted, authorities said.

Loud bangs unnerved local people and sent shock waves echoing across the hillsides. The explosions around the volcano’s mouth hurled molten rock and ash over a wide expanse. As a precaution, emergency services pulled back from the area.

Regional airline Binter temporarily halted flights due to a huge ash cloud.

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The lava has destroyed almost 400 buildings on La Palma, including many homes, on the western side of the island of 85,000 people, a European Union monitoring program said.

It said the lava stretches over 180 hectares (almost 20,000 square feet) and has blocked 14 kilometers (9 miles) of roads. Islanders make a living mostly from farming and tourism, and some may lose their livelihoods.

The government of la Palma island said officials had recorded 1,130 quakes in the area over the past week as the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge shook with blasts of lava.

On a visit to La Palma, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a package of measures to help get the island back on its feet and “rebuild lives.”

The Spanish government will provide aid for rebuilding homes and public infrastructure, such as roads, irrigation networks and schools, as well as relaunching the island’s tourism industry, Sánchez said. He did not say how much money would be made available, but said a Cabinet meeting next week would provide more details.

The blasts are sending ash up to 4,500 meters (almost 15,000 feet) into the air, the Guardia Civil police force said in a tweet. Local authorities advised people to protect themselves from the ash with face masks.

Two rivers of lava continued to slide slowly down the hillside, with experts doubting whether they would cover the remaining 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) to the sea due to their slowing progress.

One of the molten rock flows has almost ground to a halt and a second one is moving at between 4 and 5 meters an hour, the Guardia Civil said.

Both are at least 10 meters (33 feet) high at their leading edge and are destroying houses, farmland and infrastructure in their path.

Scientists say the lava flows could last for weeks or months.

Authorities haven’t reported any casualties from the eruption. Scientists had been monitoring the volcanic activity and had warned of a possible eruption, allowing almost 7,000 people to be evacuated in time.

Nerves on edge on Spanish island as quakes, lava threaten

Nerves on edge on Spanish island as quakes, lava threaten

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Hot lava reaches a swimming pool after an eruption of a volcano on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. Giant rivers of lava are tumbling slowly but relentlessly toward the sea after a … more >

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By Aritz Parra

Associated Press

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

EL PASO, Canary Islands (AP) — Several small earthquakes shook the Spanish island of La Palma off northwest Africa in the early hours of Tuesday, keeping nerves on edge as rivers of lava continued to flow toward the sea and a new vent blew open on the mountainside.

The new vent is 900 meters (3,000 feet) north of the Cumbre Vieja ridge, where the volcano first erupted on Sunday after a week of thousands of small earthquakes.

That so-called earthquake swarm gave authorities warning that an eruption was likely and allowed more than 5,000 people to be evacuated, avoiding casualties.

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The new fissure opened after what the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute said was a 3.8-magnitude quake late Monday.

La Palma, with a population of some 85,000 people, is part of the volcanic Canary Islands.

Lava by Tuesday had covered 106 hectares (about 260 acres) of terrain and destroyed 166 houses and other buildings, according to the European Union’s Earth Observation Program, called Copernicus.

Unstoppable rivers of lava, as much as six meters (nearly 20 feet) high, rolled down hillsides, burning and crushing everything in their path.

Authorities said the pace of the lava’s advance appeared to have slowed and didn’t expect it to reach the sea before Wednesday at the earliest, Spanish private news agency Europa Press reported.

When it reaches the Atlantic Ocean, it could cause explosions and produce clouds of toxic gas. Scientists monitoring the lava measured it at more than 1,000 C (more than 1,800 F).

Scientists say the lava flows could last for weeks or months. The volcano has been spewing out between 8,000 and 10,500 tons of sulfur dioxide a day, the Volcanology Institute said.