The coordination team monitoring the eruption of a volcano on La Palma is working with all possible scenarios, from the starkest to the most benign.
La Cumbre Vieja volcano on the La Palma island proceeds to erupt after the past week of intensifying seismic activity in which almost a thousand earthquakes were detected.
The Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma has occasionally twitched, convulsed, and rumbled, but no lava has emerged since 1971.
At 3:12 p.m. local time on September 19, rising magma tore open several fissures on its western flanks, and an extravagant eruption began.
No human loss has been reported, but around 6,000 people have been evacuated and 320 homes destroyed by towering lava flows rising up to 12 meters high.
Although apocalyptic situations have been ruled out, scientists warn that even when the lava stops flowing it will be some time before life goes back to normal for residents of the Spanish island.
The Canary Islands Volcano Institute has suggested the eruption could last between 24 and 84 days.
The Cumbre Vieja is a mountain range and an active volcano on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain. The ridge of Cumbre Vieja trends in an approximate north-south direction and covers the southern two-thirds of the island. Several volcanic craters are located on the summit ridge and flanks.
The latest eruption is currently ongoing, started by cracks preceded in previous days by a “seismic swarm”, opening a new crater, that of “Cabeza de Vaca” in Las Manchas.
The volcano’s behavior so far, together with the area’s history, suggests that for weeks to come there will continue to be an effusive rather than explosive eruption.
The Canary Islands, a volcanic archipelago located off the northwestern coast of Africa, have a history of eruptions. The longest one on record in La Palma took place in 1585 and lasted 84 days; the shortest one dates to 1971 and extended for 25 days. There was also an underwater eruption off the island of El Hierro in 2011.