Thousands Evacuated as Canary Island Volcano Erupts

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The New York Times 22 September, 2021 - 03:42pm 41 views

Will the La Palma volcano cause a tsunami?

There is NO tsunami danger for the U.S. East Coast at this time, following the eruption of Cumbre Vieja volcano, La Palma, Canary Islands. ... While the flank could collapse, the chances of it causing a mega tsunami are slim to none, experts say. Inside NoVAFake news: Canary Islands volcano eruption won't cause East Coast megatsunami

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The president of the island council, Mariano Hernández Zapata, said today during an interview on state broadcaster TVE that “double or triple” this number of houses could end up being lost to the advancing lava. On Monday night, a further 40 homes in the municipality of El Paso were also evacuated.

By the early hours of Tuesday morning, the lava had spread out to cover 103 hectares. That’s according to an analysis of the situation at 6am Tuesday by Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth Observation Program. The new fissure prompted the precautionary evacuation of 150 to 200 residents in the Tacande neighborhood in El Paso. What’s more, the lava is slowly moving toward Todoque, which is home to 1,300 inhabitants, in Los Llanos de Aridane. That’s according to the mayor of the municipality, Noelia García, who warned of an “imminent risk.” The residents there have already been evacuated. Todoque is located roughly halfway between the area where the first eruption took place on Sunday, Cumbre Vieja, and the sea.

La lengua de lava del proceso eruptivo de La Palma arrasa con todo a su paso en su camino hacia el mar. pic.twitter.com/InvtAhgtl5

One of the residents of Todoque who left the area is Rosendo Lea, 47, an electrician who left his house with his wife and 13-year-old son headed for Los Llanos, where his in-laws live. “My home is two kilometers from the lava and the fire,” he explained. “We are praying that it is not burned. It’s very small here and we all know each other. We are spending the day watching and saying, look at the house of this poor guy, it’s been burned.”

“I’m very anxious,” added Ana, Rosendo’s sister. “We’re all very anxious. I’m about to lose my parents’ home, where I’ve lived all my life, if the lava tongue enters the village.”

On Tuesday, after the crisis cabinet meeting that took place at midday today in Santa Cruz de La Palma, the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, the Canarian regional premier, Ángel Víctor Torres, and the president of La Palma island council, Mariano Hernández Zapata, all called on locals to take extreme precautions and avoid using the roads. “The emergency is still happening,” Sánchez said. “I want to stress,” Torres continued, “the need for the utmost precaution with a volcano that is active and that is moving unstoppably toward the sea.” The regional premier also announced that King Felipe VI would be visiting La Palma on Thursday.

So far, around 6,000 residents have been evacuated, according to the central government spokesperson. Many of them explained that they have lost their homes. Prime Minister Sánchez, who flew to La Palma on Sunday evening, yesterday stated that these victims “would not be damaged economically,” even if they had suffered emotional losses.

The lava has also destroyed between 300 and 400 agricultural holdings, in particular those where bananas are grown. On Monday evening, around 400 goats were evacuated, as well as pigs and cattle.

The Canary Islands’ government has announced that financial relief will be available from the European Union Solidarity Funds to mitigate the damage caused, should the total exceed €400 million. For now, there is no official estimate of the cost.

The Volcanology Institute of the Canaries (Involcan) confirmed on Monday night that the lava flow appears to have slowed, from 300 meters per hour compared to 700 meters per hour on Monday morning. It is still unknown whether the molten rock will reach the sea or if in the end it will stop along the way. For now, the maritime authorities have extended an exclusion zone to two nautical miles around the area and have pointed out once more that no one can approach the area for safety reasons.

A ship from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) is traveling to the island to study the possible effects of the arrival of the lava in the water. The IEO has calculated that the volcano is emitting between 7,997 and 10,665 tons of sulphur dioxide (SO₂) into the atmosphere each day.

These emissions intensified on Monday night after the new fissure opened in Tacanda, 900 meters away from the main one in Cumbre Vieja. It was accompanied by seismic activity measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale, and that was felt in other municipalities such as Los Llanos de Aridane, El Paso, Breña Alta and Santa Cruz de La Palma. Residents also felt another tremor that took place during the night and measured 3 on the Richter scale. The National Geographic Institute (IGN) has reported that there were two more earthquakes, but that these would not have been noted by those on the island.

For now there are no estimates as to how long the volcano will continue to spit out lava. The longest of those documented on the island was that of Tehuya, which took place in 1586 and lasted 84 days. The shortest, and until Sunday the last seen on the island, was Teneguía in 1971, which lasted 24 days.

While the lava continues to advance, the authorities are trying to keep normal life running as usual in parts of the island that are not under threat. The appearance of a new fissure has forced authorities to close a number of the island’s main roads, in particular the LP 2 near Tajuya, while restrictions have been put in place on the LP-3.

Basic services, telecommunications and power were all working normally on Tuesday, although there were concerns over the availability of water for irrigation. Neither air or sea traffic have so far been interrupted.

Read full article at The New York Times

Toxic gas, new rivers of molten lava endanger Spanish island

Associated Press 23 September, 2021 - 10:23am

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The president of the island council, Mariano Hernández Zapata, said today during an interview on state broadcaster TVE that “double or triple” this number of houses could end up being lost to the advancing lava. On Monday night, a further 40 homes in the municipality of El Paso were also evacuated.

By the early hours of Tuesday morning, the lava had spread out to cover 103 hectares. That’s according to an analysis of the situation at 6am Tuesday by Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth Observation Program. The new fissure prompted the precautionary evacuation of 150 to 200 residents in the Tacande neighborhood in El Paso. What’s more, the lava is slowly moving toward Todoque, which is home to 1,300 inhabitants, in Los Llanos de Aridane. That’s according to the mayor of the municipality, Noelia García, who warned of an “imminent risk.” The residents there have already been evacuated. Todoque is located roughly halfway between the area where the first eruption took place on Sunday, Cumbre Vieja, and the sea.

La lengua de lava del proceso eruptivo de La Palma arrasa con todo a su paso en su camino hacia el mar. pic.twitter.com/InvtAhgtl5

One of the residents of Todoque who left the area is Rosendo Lea, 47, an electrician who left his house with his wife and 13-year-old son headed for Los Llanos, where his in-laws live. “My home is two kilometers from the lava and the fire,” he explained. “We are praying that it is not burned. It’s very small here and we all know each other. We are spending the day watching and saying, look at the house of this poor guy, it’s been burned.”

“I’m very anxious,” added Ana, Rosendo’s sister. “We’re all very anxious. I’m about to lose my parents’ home, where I’ve lived all my life, if the lava tongue enters the village.”

On Tuesday, after the crisis cabinet meeting that took place at midday today in Santa Cruz de La Palma, the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, the Canarian regional premier, Ángel Víctor Torres, and the president of La Palma island council, Mariano Hernández Zapata, all called on locals to take extreme precautions and avoid using the roads. “The emergency is still happening,” Sánchez said. “I want to stress,” Torres continued, “the need for the utmost precaution with a volcano that is active and that is moving unstoppably toward the sea.” The regional premier also announced that King Felipe VI would be visiting La Palma on Thursday.

So far, around 6,000 residents have been evacuated, according to the central government spokesperson. Many of them explained that they have lost their homes. Prime Minister Sánchez, who flew to La Palma on Sunday evening, yesterday stated that these victims “would not be damaged economically,” even if they had suffered emotional losses.

The lava has also destroyed between 300 and 400 agricultural holdings, in particular those where bananas are grown. On Monday evening, around 400 goats were evacuated, as well as pigs and cattle.

The Canary Islands’ government has announced that financial relief will be available from the European Union Solidarity Funds to mitigate the damage caused, should the total exceed €400 million. For now, there is no official estimate of the cost.

The Volcanology Institute of the Canaries (Involcan) confirmed on Monday night that the lava flow appears to have slowed, from 300 meters per hour compared to 700 meters per hour on Monday morning. It is still unknown whether the molten rock will reach the sea or if in the end it will stop along the way. For now, the maritime authorities have extended an exclusion zone to two nautical miles around the area and have pointed out once more that no one can approach the area for safety reasons.

A ship from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) is traveling to the island to study the possible effects of the arrival of the lava in the water. The IEO has calculated that the volcano is emitting between 7,997 and 10,665 tons of sulphur dioxide (SO₂) into the atmosphere each day.

These emissions intensified on Monday night after the new fissure opened in Tacanda, 900 meters away from the main one in Cumbre Vieja. It was accompanied by seismic activity measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale, and that was felt in other municipalities such as Los Llanos de Aridane, El Paso, Breña Alta and Santa Cruz de La Palma. Residents also felt another tremor that took place during the night and measured 3 on the Richter scale. The National Geographic Institute (IGN) has reported that there were two more earthquakes, but that these would not have been noted by those on the island.

For now there are no estimates as to how long the volcano will continue to spit out lava. The longest of those documented on the island was that of Tehuya, which took place in 1586 and lasted 84 days. The shortest, and until Sunday the last seen on the island, was Teneguía in 1971, which lasted 24 days.

While the lava continues to advance, the authorities are trying to keep normal life running as usual in parts of the island that are not under threat. The appearance of a new fissure has forced authorities to close a number of the island’s main roads, in particular the LP 2 near Tajuya, while restrictions have been put in place on the LP-3.

Basic services, telecommunications and power were all working normally on Tuesday, although there were concerns over the availability of water for irrigation. Neither air or sea traffic have so far been interrupted.

La Palma volcano erupts on Spanish Canary Island, sparking evacuations

The Washington Post 23 September, 2021 - 10:23am

A volcano erupted on the  Spanish Canary Island of La Palma

A volcano erupted on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma on Sunday, spewing lava into the air and into rivers toward houses and villages on the island, per Reuters.

Canary Islands government chief Ángel Víctor Torres told SER radio that there likely won’t be another eruption.

At around 3:15 p.m. local time, the volcano erupted. According to The New York Times, the blast sent “lava into the air” and “fiery rivers of molten lava down its sides.”

La Palma is the smallest of the Canary Islands, which has about 85,000 residents. The volcano last erupted in 1971, according to The New York Times. That eruption killed one person, who died from inhaling toxic gases while on the island.

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Earthquakes, lava threatening nerves on the edge of a Spanish island | WGN Radio 720 - Illinois News Today

Illinoisnewstoday.com 21 September, 2021 - 03:41am

Hot lava reaches the pool after a volcano erupts on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands of Spain on Monday, September 20, 2021. A huge river of lava flows slowly but relentlessly towards the sea after the eruption of the volcano. A Spanish island off the coast of Northwest Africa. Lava is destroying all of its path, but quick evacuation after the eruption on Sunday helped avoid casualties. (Europa Press via AP)

El Paso (AP), Canary Islands — Early Tuesday, several small earthquakes struck La Palma in northwestern Spain, causing lava rivers to continue flowing toward the sea and new vents being blown away. Continued to be nervous. The hillside.

The new vent is 900 meters (3,000 feet) north of the Kumbrevieha Ridge. Here, the volcano first erupted on Sunday after thousands of small earthquakes lasted for a week.

The so-called earthquake swarm warned authorities of the possibility of an eruption and allowed more than 5,000 people to evacuate to avoid casualties.

A new rift opened after the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute said it was a magnitude 3.8 earthquake late Monday.

La Palma, with a population of about 85,000, is part of a volcano in the Canary Islands.

By Tuesday, lava had covered 106 hectares of terrain and destroyed 166 homes and other buildings, according to a program called Copernicus in the European Union.

An unstoppable river of lava, six meters high, rolled down a hillside, burning and crushing all of its path.

Lava is expected to reach the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday, where it can cause an explosion and create a cloud of poisonous gas. Scientists monitoring the lava measured the lava above 1,000 C (1,800 F and above).

Scientists say lava flows can last for weeks or months.

Earthquakes, lava threatening nerves on the edge of a Spanish island | WGN Radio 720

Source link Earthquakes, lava threatening nerves on the edge of a Spanish island | WGN Radio 720

Canary Islands volcano roars to life for first time in 50 years

National Geographic 20 September, 2021 - 02:00pm

The outburst is the latest in a string of fissure-style eruptions dating back centuries on the Spanish island of La Palma. Experts say it could last for weeks.

The Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma has occasionally twitched, convulsed, and rumbled, but no lava has emerged since 1971. That changed this weekend. 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.

From afar, it looked spectacular. Vertiginous fountains of lava almost 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit screamed skyward, reaching heights of up to 5,000 feet—nearly twice that of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper. Below, braided rivers of molten rock poured from the fissures like blood from open wounds.

Sitting 300 miles west of Morocco’s shores in the Atlantic Ocean, La Palma only exists because a volcanic hot spot built land above the waves long ago, forming the archipelago known as the Canary Islands. That long-lasting, superheated blowtorch within the underlying mantle created eight main islands that have delightfully varied ecosystems, from subtropical forests to deserts. On La Palma, high mountains provide ideal conditions for cloud-free star-gazing, which is why the island hosts a major European observatory.

But as this new eruption demonstrates, “the price and privilege of living on a beautiful little island is, in this case, its geological history,” says Helen Robinson, a geoscientist at the University of Glasgow who worked as part of the monitoring team for Cumbre Vieja in 2015.

Cumbre Vieja is a highly active volcanic edifice, and in the past 7,000 years, a plethora of eruptions have taken place on a north-south orientated ridge—a battle-scarred axis dotted by fissures, cones, craters, and vents. Since the 15th century, multiple lava flows have damaged buildings and crawled into the sea. They often erupt from fissures, a style common to many volcanoes around the world, from Hawai‘i’s Kīlauea to the ongoing eruption in Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula.

As of the afternoon of September 20, the latest eruption shows no signs of slowing down. According to Pedro Hernández, a volcanologist at the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands (INVOLCAN), lava continues to cascade slowly downslope and venture westward toward the sea. Most of the island remains unaffected, but 5,000 people in the path of the fiery streams have been evacuated. “More than 20 houses have been destroyed,” says Hernández. Reuters reports that more than 500 tourists had to leave their hotels, and about 360 were evacuated from a local resort to the nearby island of Tenerife.

How long the lava will remain a threat is tricky to estimate. Eruptions on La Palma can last from a few weeks to several months. “The only way to know is to know the total volume of eruptible magma under Cumbre Vieja,” says Pablo J. González, a physical volcanologist at the Spanish National Research Council on Tenerife. “That piece of information is unknown.”

The changing shape of the volcano and the seismic soundtrack of its quakes may reveal an answer to this all-important query. But even under intense scientific interrogation, Cumbre Vieja is unlikely to give up its secrets easily.

La Palma, the most northwesterly of the Canary Islands, is a volcanic chimera: a mishmash of various volcanic edifices big and small. In the south you can find Cumbre Vieja, or “Old Summit,” and despite its name it’s one of the younger siblings, dating back a mere 125,000 years. The volcano’s last eruption was from a small cone called Teneguia back in 1971. But that doesn’t mean Cumbre Vieja has been quiet since.

According to Itahiza Domínguez Cerdeña, a seismologist at the National Geographic Institute, on Tenerife, nine earthquake swarms—hundreds of rumbles happening in the same area in close succession—have occurred some 18 miles below the volcano since October 2017.

Just a week ago, these earthquakes were happening only seven miles deep, and in the last few days, quakes were emanating from just below the surface. From September 10 to 19, a staggering 25,000 quakes, most of them imperceptible to people, had been recorded. This ascending cacophony was the sound of the crust being pushed aside and deformed. The cause? The “pressure of the magma intruding in the crust,” says Cerdeña.

By this past weekend, the ground there had inflated by six inches, suggesting a moderate volume of magma had recently infiltrated the shallow crust.

Most intrusions of magma don’t lead to eruptions; they cannot punch through the solid rock above, so they cool down and ultimately stop rising. But it’s always possible for a greater volume of molten rock to gather under an intrusion, and that can potentially fuel a prolific, prolonged eruption.

Volcanologists were alarmed by the mountain’s deformation and its seismic clangor, and on September 13, the authorities raised the alert level, warning the southern section of the island and its 35,000 residents that an eruption may follow.

On September 18 scientists began deploying additional seismometers in the region to better identify types of quakes and to track their migration with more precision, while others conducted flybys in helicopters to discern if the ground was heating up. Just before midday on September 19, a potent magnitude-4.2 quake shook the volcano.

Out of an abundance of caution, Spanish soldiers helped evacuate 40 people and their farm animals from several villages around the volcano.

Later that afternoon, lava exploded out of the forested hills on the volcano’s western flank. The lava set trees and farmland aflame, crossed a highway and destroyed eight isolated houses. That night, the government announced that 5,000 people potentially in harm’s way had been evacuated.

Although its lava has not yet punched through the more built-up parts of the nearby El Paso municipality, it “is sort of creeping toward quite a densely populated area,” says Robinson. The hope is that the flow will avoid that area on its journey to the sea, but even if it doesn’t, the area has been evacuated, significantly reducing the odds of fatalities.

Fortunately, no matter how long the eruption lasts, it shouldn’t damage the multitude of astronomical telescopes at the island’s Roque de los Muchachos Observatory. Juan Carlos Pérez Arencibia, the observatory’s administrator, says that the facilities are 11 miles north of the eruption site. Also, the observatory is located 7,900 feet above sea level, while the lava is emerging at 2,000 feet.

“The ash might mean that the telescopes remain closed for several days without observing, but the observatory itself should be unharmed,” says David Jones, an astronomer at the observatory.

And despite fears swirling on social media sparked by a highly speculative 2001 paper, there’s almost no chance that the Cumbre Vieja eruption could create a mega-tsunami that would slam into America’s eastern seaboard, says Dave Petley, a landslide expert at the University of Sheffield in England.

Flank collapses of volcanoes are a genuine concern, and it’s true that several flank collapses on La Palma’s shores took place many thousands of years ago. But a study from 2015 found that under realistic modeling conditions, the most severe collapse could cause no more than a six-foot tsunami along western Atlantic coastlines.

Although such an eventuality would still be decidedly unwelcome, INVOLCAN notes that it would take an incredibly powerful earthquake and an astoundingly explosive volcanic eruption happening simultaneously for any sort of flank collapse to transpire. Cumbre Vieja is structurally sound at present, and there is no indication that such a confluence is even remotely possible.  

Make no mistake: the lava flows are the real hazard here. Fortunately, the residents of La Palma are being protected by a vanguard of volcanologists and a shield of seismologists. The long-term efforts by geoscientists on the island ensured that it was clear that something wicked was brewing long before serpentine lava flows crept out of Cumbre Vieja’s hillside.

“If they didn’t do such intense monitoring,” says Robinson, “they wouldn’t understand their volcanoes as well as they do.”

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