Sunday, October 17

The eruption of La Palma, photographed from space by a NASA satellite

This infrared image of the lava rivers making their way through the west of the island of La Palma was taken from NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite with its OLI (Operational Land Imager) camera a few days ago, before the lava reached the sea on the coast of Tazacorte.

After Cumbre Vieja opened and began to erupt on September 19, 2021, a slow-moving wall of basalt lava began to make its way through populated parts of La Palma.

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured the spectacular image on September 26, revealing the hottest parts of the flow, reports NASA.

Lava flows have destroyed more than 500 homes, buried dozens of kilometers of roads and consumed farmland as molten rock creeps down the western flank of the volcanic island into the ocean.

Many of the white rectangular features near the shore are greenhouses, some already washed away by lava on its way to the sea. The dark green areas along the coast are crops, mostly banana trees. The volcanic column that flows to the northeast contains a mixture of ash, sulfur dioxide, and other volcanic gases.

A pause in activity on the morning of Sept. 27 suggested that the eruption might be subsiding, but explosive activity resumed later in the day, according to the Canary Islands Institute of Volcanology (INVOLCAN). INVOLCAN experts have indicated that the current rash could persist for weeks or months. At the end of September 28, the lava river reached the sea, extending the emerged surface with an area in the shape of a delta.

La Palma last erupted 50 years ago, in the Teneguía. The most recent eruption in the Canary Islands occurred in 2011, when an underwater vent on El Hierro came to life.

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