Tuesday, October 19

The La Palma volcano celebrates four weeks with more than 500 hectares devastated: “It has been a hard, unbearable night”

The volcano in Cumbre Vieja, on La Palma, has completed four weeks in eruption this Sunday, time in which, with data updated by Miguel Ángel Morcuende, technical director of the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca) in the press conference offered At 2:00 p.m., it had razed more than 525.77 hectares of land, some 33 more than the day before, and 1,281 buildings affected, according to data from the Copernicus satellite on Friday. Of these, Morcuende explained, 1,186 are destroyed homes, and there are another 95 at risk of being affected by lava flows.

An earthquake of magnitude 4.1 has been located in Mazo and there are already more than 200 tremors in the last 48 hours on La Palma

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Morcuende explained that the streams reach 1,500 meters wide at their maximum point and the fajana has an area of ​​about 34 hectares, after correcting the data provided this Saturday.

He has also detailed that, after the destruction of part of the volcanic cone this Saturday, several lava flows have formed. The one to the northwest “has practically no route, it is slowed down,” he said. The one that is further south, “has activity and two branches; the north, at the height of the cement plant (in the industrial park of Callejón de la gata) advances at about five meters per hour”. For this reason, he has indicated, “we are monitoring it because it can reach a head of a mini-basin and vary the route of the wash, which would force to take new civil protection measures,” he explained.

The lower part of this wash has already affected the LP-213 highway. The forecast, Morcuende has indicated, is that it advance in parallel to the previous wash and look for the exit through the northern part of the Todoque mountain, “pushing the arm that was paralyzed there about ten days ago.”

In addition, he stressed that seismic activity continues to be “high in number” of tremors, but that these are occurring at medium and deep levels, between 10 and 30 kilometers.

The technical director of Pevolca has made special mention to the inhabitants of the Aridane Valley, for their “civility” in the face of an explosive, strombolian eruptive phenomenon, which offers conditions “quite unbearable” due to its explosions, tremors and noise. “People are overwhelmed by a situation like this; last night was a hard night,” he commented, to underline again the “exemplary” behavior of the palm trees in these harsh circumstances.

Morcuende has once again recommended the use of masks to the entire population, especially to the vulnerable population, and to be cautious in the presence of ashes in the air.

For her part, the scientific spokesperson for Pevolca and director of the National Geographic Institute in the Canary Islands, María José Blanco, has indicated that the amount of magma released varies between 39.6 million cubic meters, according to a calculation by the Instituto Volcanológico de Canarias ( Involcan) from the diffuse emission of sulfur dioxide, and the 60 million cubic meters estimated by a satellite program.

Regarding air quality, Morcuende has indicated that this Saturday no level of danger for the air was exceeded, neither in sulfur levels, nor of other gases or ashes. The quality is “reasonably good”, considering that you are in an area with an eruption, he added.

Morcuende pointed out that this Sunday the predominance of the north component will continue but as of this Monday a west component turn is expected that may cause a displacement of the ash plume and sulfur dioxide from its current position with a north-south configuration to a west-east distribution throughout tomorrow. This may affect the operation of La Palma Airport and also other aerodromes, such as those in Tenerife.


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