Orange lava flows like a waterfall over the cliffs and pours into the black Atlantic Ocean off the Spanish Canary island of La Palma. When the lava, whose temperature can reach 1,000 degrees Celsius, touches the sea near the town of Playa Nueva, smoke and large clouds of white steam rise.
Nine days after starting his run down the mountain, leaving a trail of destruction on his way, he now reached the sea. The Spanish Institute of Oceanography tweeted on Tuesday evening, posting impressive photos taken by one of its ships.
Experts now fear explosions of glowing lava rocks and hot tidal waves. There is also concern that contact of lava with seawater could release harmful gases. For this reason, curfews have already been imposed in four regions with a total population of about 300.
“When you’re abroad, find a safe place to go,” the Canary Islands Security Authority tweeted.
The newspaper “La Vanguardia” reported that after the lava and rocks fell into the sea, a pyramid 50 meters high had accumulated. Previously, a lava flow near the municipality of Tazacorte fell down a slope about 100 meters high.
According to the Marine Rescue Service, lava has been pouring into the sea since midnight (CEST). A south wind blows. The Institute of Oceanography also tweeted that lava can be seen advancing to the base of the cliff.
The volcanic island was declared a disaster area on Tuesday. Since the volcano erupted on September 19 for the first time in 50 years in the Cumbre Vieja mountain range in the south of the island, lava on the western side has been pouring out towards the sea. To date, nearly 600 buildings, banana plantations and large greenhouses near the coast have been destroyed by the red-hot mass.
The number of people who had to leave their homes decreased slightly to 5,600 after some residents were allowed to return. The regional government estimates that the damage will amount to several hundred million euros.