Since Sunday, we’ve been receiving horrific photos from the Canary island of La Palma. Thousands of people are threatened by lava from the volcano there – including tourists.
LA PALMA / MADRID – The Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Canary island of La Palma has been spitting ash, rocks and lava since Sunday. The last time he did this was in 1971. Even before the eruption of the volcano on Sunday, seismic activity increased on the Canary Island. It has remained high ever since, even if it stabilized, according to the Civil Guard. Lava, ash and smoke were thrown from the volcano at an altitude of up to 4200 meters, which is why the safety of flying in the airspace has recently been called into question.
The end of the volcanic eruption is not in sight at present. Cumbre Vieja volcano continues to shoot lava into the sky. Toxic ash rain covers large parts of the Canary Island and lava continues to flow towards the sea. So far, about 350 homes and large areas of the island’s large banana plantations have been destroyed. Roads and power lines have also disappeared under the lava – about 166 hectares of the island is now covered with lava.
Volcanic eruption in the Canary Islands: a cover of lava at an altitude of 15 meters
The lava is now flowing more slowly, but this may mean that it is spreading more over land and not flowing into the sea. As a result of deceleration, the lava layer partially reached a height of 15 meters. However, islanders now have more time to bring themselves and their belongings to safety.
A restricted area has been introduced two nautical miles from the point where the lava is supposed to flow into the sea. However, it is not currently certain whether the lava will reach the sea. In the case of lava flowing into the sea, a dangerous chemical reaction occurs, manifested in the form of an explosion of water vapor, among other things.
After the volcanic eruption: a cloud of sulfur dioxide threatens the entire western Mediterranean region
However, the volcanic eruption has an impact not only on the island of La Palma and its immediate surroundings, but also on large parts of the Mediterranean. According to the Canary Volcano Research Institute Involcan, Cumbre Vieja has spewed between 6,000 and 11,500 tons of sulfur dioxide per day since Sunday. The cloud of this gas has already reached the coast of Morocco and is expected to hit the mainland of Spain as well.
From there it will spread towards the Balearic Islands and southern France. According to various calculations, the cloud is likely to cover the entire western Mediterranean and large parts of the Maghreb region. The effects of a volcanic eruption can last from three to twelve weeks.
Danger to life: Vacationers spend in the ash rain when a volcanic eruption occurs
Thousands of people – including tourists – were evacuated even before the looming volcanic eruption. Like many people, two German tourists were surprised by the volcanic eruption. Like a couple who were traveling in a converted fire truck across picture I mentioned, they were at the foot of Comber Vegas on the day of the eruption.
According to their own statement, they were only 800 meters from the volcano when it began spewing lava and ash. Unlike the residents, they were able to quickly escape with their car, where they kept all their belongings. According to their own statements, they observe lava from a little farther away. But, in doing so, they fell under a rain of hot ash that “burned their arms.” They are now in Los Llanos de Aridan in La Palma, which has not yet been evacuated. (in a)
List of photos: © Arturo Jimenez / dpa