It’s been a week today, that the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma started erupting. And according to the latest events, there’s no end in sight!
Since the beginning of the eruption, the lava flow buried 210 hectares (518 acres) of land and destroyed around 500 buildings. Ashfall is widespread and covers 1,314 hectares (3,246 acres). The lava has also detroyed 16.9 kilometers of road.
It enables to refine damage grading & to identify areas affected by the ashfall which covers 1,314 ha pic.twitter.com/MBIGpJGdEt
— Copernicus EMS (@CopernicusEMS) September 26, 2021
The amount of ash does not affect health, but it can cause damage when handling it
These latest numbers were compiled from the first satellite image of the eruption area without clouds captured at 12:03 UTC on Saturday, September 25 by Copernicus.
The volcanic eruption of #LaPalma is continuing
— 🇪🇺 DG DEFIS #StrongerTogether (@defis_eu) September 26, 2021
Meanwhile, the La Palma airport, which was closed yesterday due to ash accumulation, has reopened today morning, after a clean-up operation was carried out overnight. However the flights scheduled for today remain canceled.
— Aena (@aena) September 26, 2021
Seismicity continues at low levels at around 10 kilometers depth. Scientists from the Canarian Geodetic Network have recorded a deflation process in the last 24 hours in the area of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, which would indicate a decrease in pressure in the magmatic system. However, these data do not imply that the eruption is close to an end.
Actualización informativa: la deformación registrada por la Red Geodésica Canaria en las ultimas 24 h muestra un proceso de deflación, que indicaría una disminución de la presión en el sistema magmático de Cumbre Vieja. pic.twitter.com/MtHnLEF4Es
— INVOLCAN (@involcan) September 26, 2021
According to the technical director of Pevolca, Miguel Ángel Morcuende, there are currently 2 flows:
- A flow to the north that is fluid
- A flow to the south that moves at 30 meters per hour.
This lava comes from more interior areas of the caldera and is at about 1,250 °C and thus flows very quickly. But with time, it becomes more viscous and slows down.
— 1-1-2 Canarias (@112canarias) September 26, 2021
Ashfall is affecting nearby municipalities but drifts to the East due to a strong wind. The crater is emitting 25,000 tons per day of sulfur, but air quality is still good.
Meanwhile, a large landslide that has fallen into the sea occurred in the town of Tazacorte, which is just 15 minutes away from the city of Todoque, currently ravaged by lava.
The event occurred on Sunday morning, on a cliff above Playa Nueva, near the port of the town. It’s not yet clear if this is directly related to the seismic activity that has been capturing the world’s attention. Is a tsunami still possible?
On Saturday, the main cone of the eruption collpased, causing a new lava flow, more fluid and faster that was able to run over the first one.
María José Blanco, director of the Geophysical Center of the Canary Islands explained: “The volcano has phases in which parts of the cone disappear. It has already happened twice and it cannot be ruled out that it continues to happen.“
Today, residents evacuated from Tacande de Arriba, Tacande de Abajo and Tajuya, will be able to return to their homes.
Since last Sunday, around 6,200 residents have been evacuated from the areas that are in the path of the lava flows and from areas that could be cut off by the magma rivers.
Check out these remarkable images from La Palma: