A new mantle of highly liquid lava has arisen on the Spanish island of La Palma, where the Cumber Vieja volcano has already expelled 80 million cubic meters of magma. Since it broke out nearly two weeks ago.
According to the Spanish Institute of Geology and Mining (IGME), this new river of lava started at about 02:30 local time (01:30 GMT), after a new mouth that is considered a severe ejection appeared on the Cumbre Vieja side.
Aerial videos captured by IGME and the Instituto Volcanológico de Canarias (Involcan) showed a spectacular river of glowing lava making its way over the charred soil.
This new flow adds to the lava still accumulating in the Atlantic Ocean, forming a vast magma platform, the surface area of which exceeds 20 hectares and does not stop growing.
The head of the regional government of the Canary Islands, Angel Victor Torres, said at a press conference where he added that this amount is twice that which was erupted in 1971 from the nearby volcano Tinguya, once twice its size.
In addition, particles of material expelled by the volcano reached the Azores Atlantic archipelago and caused low visibility, according to the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA).
La Palma and Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores, are separated by more than 1,200 kilometers, but the winds carry particles from the eruption, which has already reached the Portuguese islands “in the form of sulfate spray,” according to the Portuguese agency. .
These “aerosols” contribute to “light scattering” and cause a “significant” decrease in visibility, adds the IPMA, especially in areas less than 800 meters of altitude.
In this scenario, the “high humidity” recorded in the Azores contributes to the increased particle size, which has resulted in severe fog in the last hours.
The volcanic eruption, which did not injure or kill anyone, evacuated about 6,000 of the island’s 85,000 residents. However, the physical damage is severe and the lava has destroyed 870 buildings.
About 246 hectares of land is currently covered with lava, according to the Copernican geospatial system of measurement.
After traveling four miles during the first days of the eruption, and having almost stopped after that, the fiery lava flow finally reached the sea Tuesday night through Wednesday, generating large amounts of smoke and toxic gases.
To avoid poisoning, a security perimeter of about 3.5 kilometers was established, as well as a maritime exclusion zone of two nautical miles. The island authorities asked residents of various neighborhoods to be confined to their homes.
The concentration of sulfur dioxide has increased in recent hours in Tazacorte, the nearest municipality, as lava reaches the Atlantic Ocean, while ash particles have gained density throughout the area.
However, technical director of the Special Plan for Civil Protection and Emergency Assistance for Volcanic Hazards in the Canary Islands (PEVOLCA), Miguel Angel Morquinde, said air quality is not a concern.
On a visit to the island Friday, the Minister of the Presidency, Felix Bolaños, wanted to reassure the citizens of La Palma, and stressed that the reconstruction of the affected areas would be a “priority” for the government.
For his part, the head of government, Pedro Sanchez, who has already traveled to the island on two occasions, will return to La Palma on Sunday.