The Cumbre Vieja volcano has been spitting lava and soot over La Palma for nearly a month. Air traffic to the island is now possible again.
+++ 8.45 pm: A second lava flow likely won’t reach the sea on the volcanic Canary island of La Palma, contrary to initial forecasts, on Monday. The current has slowed down significantly and is still moving forward at a speed of two meters per hour. News anchor RTVE reports and points to information from the authorities. On Sunday, the current was still flowing toward the sea slopes at 15 meters per hour.
The hot mass, which is 1270 degrees Celsius, is still 160 meters from the sea. It is sure that sooner or later it will reach the Atlantic Ocean and form a new head. The main stream has been flowing out to sea for a good two weeks and creating a new cape there, which was already over 36 hectares in size on Monday. About 50 football fields are suitable for it.
Volcano in La Palma: Stunning Satellite Images – No Air Traffic on Weekend
Meanwhile, flight operations resumed Monday in La Palma after a two-day break. The island’s airport remained operational over the weekend, but the majority of flights were canceled due to an increase in volcanic ash that is dangerous to aircraft.
Update from Monday, October 18, 2021 at 8am: The volcanic eruption in La Palma continues to paralyze air traffic on the Canary Island. An airport spokesman said planes had to stay on the ground for a second day in a row on Sunday due to volcanic ash. So all 38 flights planned for the day have been cancelled. Only four of the 34 flights planned were able to take off on Saturday.
Meanwhile, a second lava flow could reach the sea on Monday and form a new cape there. The Institute of Volcanology of the Spanish Region (Involcan) announced, on Sunday afternoon, that the hot mass of 1270 degrees Celsius is about 200 meters from the sea. The lava flow is flowing towards the sea slopes at a speed of 15 meters per hour.
La Palma volcano still active: little hope for a quick end to lava flows
First report from Sunday 17 October 2021: LA PALMA – New high-resolution satellite imagery of the Spanish island of La Palma shows lava flows that spewed across the island from the Cumbre Vieja volcano. The images, captured Thursday (October 14, 2021) by a satellite of the US Earth observation company Maxar Technologies, show a huge, dark, heavy cloud of smoke extending over the island from the volcanic crater. Glowing lava flows down the slopes of the mountains towards the coast and destroys everything that stands in its way.
Describing the natural phenomenon on Twitter, Maxar says: “The lava is forming a huge delta on the La Palma coast and has taken about 40 hectares of new land from the Atlantic Ocean.” Through pyroclastic flows with surface temperatures of 500 it flows into the sea at more than 1000 ° C, turning into volcanic rocks and thus increasing the land mass on the edges of the island at the expense of the Atlantic area.
The most dangerous for the inhabitants of La Palma are the poisonous gases that arise when lava enters the sea. During the chemical reaction that occurs once hot, boiling lava meets water, hydrochloric acid is released, among other things. In gaseous form, hydrochloric acid is highly corrosive and extremely dangerous to the respiratory system of humans and animals. In addition, chemical burns can occur on the surface of the skin and eye irritation on contact.
Lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano in La Palma meets sea water: toxic gases are created
but that is not all. Donald Bruce Dingwill, professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the Department of Mineralogy, Petrology and Geochemistry at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, told RND: “The volcano contains many gases, from uranium to fluorine to sulfur, which mostly seep to the top. Some of the gases are also stored in the lava, which is dumped on its way.”
Once the lava hits seawater, other gases are released, such as bromine, sulfur, and chlorine. Many aerosols are formed. If you stand in the wrong direction of the wind, you will get the entire aerosol.”
The local authorities responded to this threat with a security zone within 3.5 kilometers. Residents inside were asked to stay indoors and keep windows closed to avoid inhaling toxic gases. Incidentally, this process does not harm the environment, said Dingwell. Lava flows into the sea four and a half billion years ago, and this is a “natural process” that does not harm the Earth – unlike the local population.
1,817 buildings in La Palma fell victim to the lava of the Cumbre Vieja volcano
On Twitter, the Institute of Volcanology of the Canary Islands (Involcan) posted its own recordings, filmed from the ground, of lava flows in Cumbre Vieja, making their way through abandoned houses. The description reads: “Our crew was able to film a real lava ‘tsunami’ today.”
The scene is less pleasant for the locals. According to the European Union’s Copernicus Emergency Monitoring Service, 1,817 buildings have fallen victim to boiling lava since the eruption of the volcanic eruption on September 19, 2021. More than 7.3 square kilometers of land has already been damaged, while Cumbre Vieja volcano is scattering more and more lava over The island.
The eruptions intensified last weekend after part of Cumber Vega crater collapsed on Saturday (October 9, 2021) and lava was then able to flow in new directions. House-sized boulders rolled down the crater, and new lava flows found their way to the Atlantic coast in no time at all, destroying settlements on their way rescued from the original runoff.
The Cumbre Vieja volcano in La Palma erupted for the first time after nearly 50 years of rest
According to the British newspaper The Guardian, the local authorities in La Palma on Thursday, October 14, directed about 300 people to evacuate their homes in the cities of Tazacourt and La Laguna. Those affected had only a few hours to rescue their belongings and pets.
||La Palma, Canary Islands (Spain)
Meanwhile, the sulfur dioxide cloud emanating from the volcano is spreading over Europe and reaching heights of up to 5 kilometres, according to the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS). The gas cloud is expected to cross Europe from west to east in the coming days, according to Mark Barrington, chief scientist at CAMS, on Twitter.
Cumbre Vieja volcano first erupted on September 19, 2021 after nearly 50 years of rest. More than 20,000 light earthquakes alerted geologists and local authorities a week before magma erupted inside the volcano. Experts fear the eruptions could last for months. (Mirko Schmid)