Canary Islands volcano continues to erupt after two weeks

The eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano causes extensive damage in La Palma (Credit: INVOLCAN.org)

La Palma, one of the Spanish Canary Islands, felt the anger of the Cumbre Vieja volcano since September 19, 2021. The explosive volcano, which woke up shortly after 3:00 p.m. local time, was to spit large amounts of molten lava, sometimes up to 20 feet (6 meters) high. The slow rivers of magma destroyed nearly 400 houses, buried tens of kilometers of roads and consumed hundreds of acres of farmland.

On Tuesday, September 28, 2021, the Volcanic Institute of the Canary Islands confirmed that the lava had started to pay in the Atlantic Ocean. Authorities fear that the interaction of magma with cold water will release toxic gases and small particles. They ask the residents of the neighborhood to stay inside and keep their windows closed. Scientists also fear that the chemical reactions between lava and water can lead to powerful underwater explosions.

Experts don’t know when Cumbre Vieja, or “Old Summit,” will subside. The Teneguía de La Palma volcano, which came to life in 1971, has remained active for more than three weeks. “The only way to know is to know the total volume of magma under Cumbre Vieja ”, explains Pablo J. González, physical volcanologist at the Spanish National Research Council. “This piece of information is unknown. “

The only silver lining is that no life has been lost yet. Cumbre Vieja provided a lot of Warning – in the form of 20,000 small earthquake – during the week before the first eruption. This, combined with the slowness of the magma, allowed the authorities to clear out the more than 6,000 inhabitants in its path.

The massive volcanic eruption was captured in an image by NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite (Credit: Earthobservatory.NASA.gov)

La Palma is one of the smallest of the eight main volcanic islands of the Canary Islands in Spain archipelago, which stretches along the northwest coast of Africa. The widely rural community of 85,000 people depends on crops like bananas, avocados and grapes for its livelihood. Unfortunately, lava has buried many plantations and left thousands homeless. Although it may take months or even years to recover from destruction, the Spanish government has promised to do everything possible to help.

“The people of La Palma should rest assured that we have all the resources and the urgency staff necessary, ”Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said after meeting with local officials on September 19, 2021.

Resources: elpais.com, Smithsonianmag.com, NPR.com,