Society 27/09/2021

La Palma volcano starts to expel smoke and lava again

Cumbre Vieja activity suddenly stopped for two hours this morning

2 min
The volcano of La Palma has been reactivated this morning, September 27th

BarcelonaCumbre Vieja volcano is once again spewing out smoke and lava after several hours of apparent seismic inactivity, which had given the islanders hope of a truce after a week of violent eruption. Now uncertainty is returning to La Palma, especially to Fuencaliente, on the south of the island, where at least 16 earthquakes have been detected. The eruption had stopped emitting pyroclastic material for two hours and although the Institute of Geoscience confirmed a "remarkable reduction" in seismic activity, geologists also called for caution and avoided being triumphalist after the sudden seismic stop. "We have to be very vigilant because the scenario can change quickly. It could be that the flow [of lava] has gone down; or it could continue, albeit with less quantity, in which case it could increase again," the Institute stressed, and argued that there are "few guarantees" that this stop is definitive.

The Geological Mining Institute of Spain (IGME) claims the volcano of La Palma "has not turned off" and attributes the cessation of activity registered this morning for a few hours to a resting phase. The lava and black smoke coming out of the volcano, accompanied by some sporadic explosions felt miles away, confirm the brevity of the truce. The scientific committee of the Volcanic Emergency Plan of the Canary Islands (Pevolca) is now meeting to analyse what has happened in recent hours, when seismographs detected a sudden drop in volcanic tremors between 8.30 am and 11 am, to the point that they "had almost disappeared" and the emission of smoke and ash had stopped. "The apparent interruption of the eruption could indicate a new phase, we cannot lower our guard," the organisation Canary Volcanoes insist.

A spokesman for the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute (Involcan), David Calvo, also confirmed in an interview with RNE that the pause "falls within volcanoes' behaviour" and "does not imply the end of the eruption". In fact, over the last eight days very explosive cyclical episodes of magma have taken place alongside others of relative calm. The geologist and popular scientist Nahúm Méndez Chazarra agrees, who in an interview on La Sexta admitted he was concerned: "We have a seismic swarm similar to the day before the eruption and this may mean that the system could be reloading magma, or that this magma will seek a different way out"

From Todoque's port you can see small columns of smoke rise. This is an area where about 1,200 people live and was one of the first affected by the eruption. The town of Todoque was invaded by lava last week and yesterday the lava flow accelerated again aggressively (at a speed of 100 meters per hour) and destroyed the church's bell tower. along other buildings and such as the GP's surgery and the residents' association headquarters.

The scientific committee of the volcanic emergency plan of the Canary Islands (Pevolca) warned on Sunday night that the arrival of lava to the sea could be "a question of hours", so the residents of the nearest neighbourhoods were ordered to stay at home to minimise risks and protect themselves from the gases that can be released during the contact of lava with water. The president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, has specified this morning that the forecast is that the lava from the volcano will reach the coast "imminently" .