Tuesday, October 19

The Cumbre Vieja volcano erupts on La Palma

La Palma’s new volcano erupts after several days of restlessness and anxiety. The explosion took place this Sunday, at 3:12 p.m. (Canary time), in Cabeza de Vaca, in the upper area of ​​the municipality of El Paso. It is a non-populated area, although there are some houses in the vicinity, the mayor of the municipality of El Paso, Sergio Rodríguez, has told this newspaper.

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David Calvo, a scientist at the Canary Islands Volcanological Institute (Involcan) told Televisión Canaria that now “we have to estimate the volume of lava” of the new volcano, which has several eruptive mouths. So far, between three and six cracks have been counted. “We are already carrying out maps and simulations to know where the streams will flow.” He explained that it is a Strombolian volcano that “reminds of the images of Teneguía.” “The first hours are important to know where the lava will walk”, which is approaching residential areas.

The mayor of El Paso has indicated that about 300 people in total have been evacuated to the affected area, the settlements of El Paraíso and Cabeza de Vaca. The residents have been transferred to the municipal soccer stadium. Once the lava passes the LP-2 highway, it enters the municipality of Los Llanos de Aridane. In addition, several fires have been caused by the expulsion of pyroclasts, some very close to homes. Despite everything, no personal injury has been reported since the eruption began.

The seismic swarm of Cumbre Vieja that began last Saturday, September 11, has led, in a rapid and energetic process, into a telluric episode that occurs half a century after Teneguía, so far the youngest surface volcano in Spain.

It is the sound of each explosion, the ashes and the spectacular views are being the authentic protagonists of this moment in history.

An eruption for history

The Cumbre Vieja de La Palma is one of the most active volcanic complexes in the Canary Islands. Two of the last three eruptions recorded on the islands have occurred here, the San Juan volcano (1949) and the Teneguía (1971).

Since September 11, the National Geographic Institute and the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands have been registering a significant accumulation of thousands of small earthquakes in the vicinity of the Cumbre Vieja, with foci that began at a depth of more than 20 kilometers, but progressively increased to the surface.

Since the beginning of the week, the island had a yellow traffic light due to volcanic risk in that area (level 2 of 4).

This same morning, the authorities began to evacuate residents with mobility problems in the towns of the municipalities of El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridane, Villa de Mazo and Fuencaliente.

Since there are historical records – since the conquest of the Canary Islands in the 15th century – La Palma has been the scene of seven of the 16 volcanic eruptions that the archipelago has experienced.