The volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma returned to spewing ash and smoke on Monday (27) after a short lull, while hundreds of people in coastal villages were locked inside their homes in anticipation of lava reaching the sea, which will cause the release of toxic gases.
A plume of white smoke rose from Cumbre Vieja volcano after several hours of calm around 11:00 a.m. (local time), according to eyewitnesses from Reuters. The researchers confirmed that the volcano began spitting lava around the same time.
“It’s normal with this kind of eruption,” said Miguel Angel Morquinde, director of the Pevolca Response Committee. “The volcano has periods of growth and periods of weakness.”
Low gas levels and a reduced supply of material inside the crater may have caused the reduced activity, Maria Jose Blanco, also a member of the commission, said.
Since September 19, black lava has slowly flowed down the western side of the volcano toward the sea, destroying more than 500 homes, as well as churches and banana plantations, according to the European Union’s disaster monitoring programme.
Spanish property portal Idealista estimated damages at 178 million euros as of Monday.
Two tongues of super-hot black lava swirled on a hill west of the small town of Todoc, less than a kilometer from the Atlantic Ocean, and authorities said they could not be sure when it would reach the sea.
About 300 residents of the coastal areas of San Borondon, Marina Alta, Baja and La Condesa are still confined to their homes, where the moment of contact between the lava and the sea is likely to lead to explosions and the emission of clouds of chlorine gas. Local airline Pinter, which had planned to resume flights to the island on Monday afternoon, said conditions were unsafe and all transfers would be canceled by Tuesday.
After a new space opened on Sunday, images of drones appeared from Reuters It showed a river of hot lava flowing down the crater slopes, former homes, areas of land, and buildings submerged by a black mass of older, slower lava.
No deaths or serious injuries have been reported, but about 15% of the island’s banana crop may be at risk, putting thousands of jobs at risk.
La Palma, with a population of over 83,000, is part of an archipelago that makes up the Canary Islands.
* Reported by Guillermo Martinez, John Nazca and Marco Trujillo, in La Palma, Inte Landauro, Emma Pinedo and Clara Laila Ludette, in Madrid.
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