Sunday, October 24

At the mouth of the La Palma volcano: the new crater, seen from a drone

Since last Sunday the island of La Palma has a new volcano to its credit, a crater that has expelled tons of lava, ash and pyroclasts that have forced the evacuation of thousands of people in nearby towns and that has devastated several hundred of houses and other infrastructures on their way to the sea.

The ash cloud reaches 3,500 meters and the pressure of the magma maintains its intensity in the La Palma volcano

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For the first time, in exclusive images from the Canary Islands Now, a drone approaches the main mouth of the new volcano, still unnamed, and which has stained the island black and has become a real nightmare for palm trees.

The main lava flow reaches at some points about 500 meters wide and up to 12 meters high. Its speed, however, has slowed down to four meters per hour because “it is increasingly difficult to move forward” because it loses temperature as it moves away from the cone, and because it has to go through the “large volume” of material already deposited, which has also cooled on the surface, as reported this Wednesday by the spokesperson for the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca) and director of the National Geographic Institute (IGN) in the Canary Islands, María José Blanco.

In the first hours after the eruption, the speed of the first lava flows reached 200 meters per hour and a maximum height of no more than six meters was measured. Now the height is higher at some points due to the accumulation of layers of slag.

Since the beginning of this volcanological episode, up to nine different active mouths have been counted, although some have stopped spitting lava, but it is not ruled out that new ones will open, since the eruption is far from over. María José Blanco has indicated that the volcano is “in a very explosive phase”, with large accumulations of gas, which explains the detonations that are frequently heard in the vicinity. One consequence of this is the increase in ash, which are small pyroclasts.

In the last hours the volcano has begun to spit large amounts of ash in a cloud that has reached 3,500 meters of altitude and that, when deposited, has formed a layer of about 3 centimeters thick that has stained part of the island black .

The Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan) explained shortly after the eruption began that the expelled lava was at about 1,100 degrees Celsius. If it reaches the sea, when it comes into contact with the water, which is at about 18-20 degrees, a thermal contraction would occur that would cause a white smoke harmful to health due to the toxic substances it contains. But at the moment, with less speed, the laundry may even stop and not rush into the ocean.