Cumbre Vieja, the volcano errupting on La Palma, is showing no signs of rest. “At the moment we are seeing more activity, more lava and more earthquakes,” stated the spokesman of Involcan, David Calvo.
Daily sulphur dioxide emission have been recorded at 50,000 tonnes and the plume of ash, gas and dust is reaching higher altitude to up to 3,800 meters. (Click Here)
Volcano cone collapses 3 times today
The first partial collapse of the cone occurred this morning at around 9:25 Canarian time, exposing a large source of lava: (Click Here)
The second break up, smaller than the first one, occurred around 17.00 Canarian time: (Click Here)
The third collapse so far today is the biggest of the 3. (Click Here)
It occurred around 8:30pm local time, and has released larger amounts of lava than the two previous ones: “A few minutes ago the cone broke and caused more lava overflows and landslides that have generated air currents.” (Click Here)
“Here we see how the pyroclastic materials from the eruption fall onto the slope of the cone. In this way, the volcano is gaining height. As it is loose material, as it [the buildup] increases, the likelihood of partial collapses also increases,” Domínguez wrote in a message on Twitter.
The last major cone collapse occurred on Saturday.
A 5th vent opens up spewing more lava
A fifth vent opened up on Sunday on La Palma. The volcano – which has been erupting since September 19 – has now three vents inside the main cone and two more on its western side.
Due to that new opening, more magma is reaching the surface, leading to overflows. The volcanic cone on Saturday also began to emit lava – before then it had only been spewing out pyroclastic material.
Miguel Ángel Morcuende, the technical director of the Canaries Volcano Risk Prevention Plan (Pevolca) explained that this “is an important fact because in the end there is a redistribution of magma to other points.” (Click Here)
With more lava being released, new flows of molten rock have emerged. One of these is moving towards the neighborhood of Las Manchas, which was one of the first areas to be evacuated when the eruption began.
This new flow is moving towards the southeast. Since the lava feeding it is being channeled to existing flows, it doesn’t pose any immediate threat. However, the new lava flows could fill in other routes that have already been touched, or even go to a previously unaffected area. Meanwhile, some lava flows have widened so much that they are posing new security risks.
According to the latest data from the European observation system Copernicus, the lava has destroyed 2,146 buildings and covered 901.2 hectares. In other words, nearly nine hectares were razed in the space of nine hours. This period of time coincides with the opening of the fifth volcanic vent and the appearance of the new lava flow.
Increased seismic activity
La Palma also saw an increase in seismic activity over the weekend. “This seismic activity has increased notably in frequency and magnitude,” according to a Pevolca report released on Sunday, which added that some quakes had been recorded at depths greater than 20 kilometers.
Over the last 24h, more than 280 quakes hit the eruption area. Between midnight and 7am on Monday, more than 80 quakes hit La Palma, although none measured more than M3.5. The previous night more than 200 tremors were registered by the IGN, one of which measured M4.3.
Large landslide blocks road in the South of La Palma
These earthquakes are responsible for a large landslide that is blocking the only access road to Puerto Naos in the vicinity of El Charco, in Fuencaliente (in the south of La Palma). Emergency personnel also blocked.
Meanwhile, officials have announced on Monday that access to Fuencaliente via road has been blocked temporarily due to the risk of landslides. Residents who have been evacuated from areas including Corazoncillo, Jedey and San Nicolás will not be able to return for collecting belongings until authorities confirm it is safe to do so.
Although the volcanic activity of Cumbre Vieja has increased, the air quality on La Palma has improved. People should however wear a mask if staying outside for longer period of time, especially those with pulmonary issues.