Jorge, who lives on the edge of the La Palma volcano exclusion zone, goes up to the Church of Tajuya to see with binoculars how the two new lava flows that were born last morning a few meters from the main cone evolve. The mass of rocks at a thousand degrees flows in a fluid way to the north of another magma river, the one that reached the neighborhood of La Laguna, and has already crossed the road to Tacande. For the moment, your home is not in danger. But you have already learned that anything can happen. “From this [en referencia al volcán] you can expect anything. Those two washes are hitting hard. Within a couple of hours a building that was there is taken away. I knew the house. And there are others around, of course ”.
Sulfur dioxide emissions skyrocket and the eruption is expected to be the longest in the past 500 years
From the viewpoint of the Church of Tajuya the ash is hitting so hard that it feels like a rain of rubber balls, the one used for artificial soccer fields, bouncing off the head. There is a paradox that is difficult to explain. Jorge observes the lava, hoping that it does not go down to the roundabout, where his parents’ home is located and, after the eruption, his as well. Around him, dozens of people mount their tripods, readjust their hoods and wait until they capture the best snapshot of the two new streams of fire that descend at high speed, “like water”, repeat the clap-makers.
This Sunday it has been ten weeks since the land was opened on the mountain of Cabeza de Vaca, in the municipality of El Paso. The last few days had been full of hope due to the rest that the “bug” or “rooster” or “monster” seemed to be taking, depending on who you ask, which lights up the nights of the island. However, the experts, who had begun to speak of some weakening of the eruptive activity (always making it clear that nothing is ruled out), got a little surprise on Thursday, when a new mouth opened south of the crater. And another this Sunday, with the two new emission centers that have emerged, threatening more evacuations.
“That is the rumble that has been heard here all day. That it is possible that they will evacuate this again ”, Jorge points out. Families from the neighborhoods of Tacande de Abajo, Tacande de Arriba and Tajuya have already had to run from their homes on several occasions, especially due to the emission of toxic gases. They bag a lifetime in case you have to lock your door for the last time. “In one of those episodes [de salida inmediata]”Says Juan, Jorge’s friend,“ they called me to catch the dog. I was in Santa Cruz de La Palma! ”, Which is more than half an hour away by car. “That wash, the last one, is spilling, it is getting closer, but there is a little ravine there, so I don’t think it’s coming.”
The island has to hold on to something in the midst of so much uncertainty. According to the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (PEVOLCA), the emission of sulfur dioxide (S02), one of the indicators that reflects how awake the La Palma volcano is, soared this Saturday with a rate of between 30,000 and 49,999 tons per day. Seismicity, at intermediate depths, has increased in the last 24 hours. The vibrations of the volcano have also risen. Everything indicates that the end of the eruption is far away and that it will become the longest in the last 500 years. There are already residents of La Palma getting used to the idea of taking the grapes between roars and earthquakes.
Julia has been all this Sunday walking around her house in case the Civil Guard shows up and asks her to vacate her house. It is one of those extraordinary plans that have been taking place on La Palma since September. She is worried. In the background, it seems that the new eruptive mouths have wanted to take away the prominence of the main cone of the volcano by generating two lava flows that go to their home. But it is a volcanic optical effect (another of the unprecedented things that are happening on this island). In principle, these rivers will join the old ones and will not reach their roots. However, he has a request: “Let them come by and tell me: look, have something prepared, because this [en referencia a la colada] it can be widened and it can reach the roundabout ”.
“If they see what is going down there”, and Julia points to the street where the lava is supposed to descend, “let them come and tell us to be on the lookout. But have you seen anyone in this area? ”He wonders. She, in the end, has a compelling reason. This Saturday he bought a dryer and wants to save it at all costs. “Let me know in advance. If they don’t do it and they tell me “go away,” I’ll tell them: no, I’ll take the dryer first ”.