Earthquakes on La Palma increase and new crater opens as lava flow moves south

by Lorraine Williamson
new crater - Twitter -

SANTA CRUZ DE LA PALMA – Nothing shows the end of the volcanic eruption on La Palma is in sight. On the contrary, a new crater opened in the main cone on Sunday, bringing the total to five. 

Of these, three are within the main cone and two further west, National Geographic Institute (IGN) sources confirmed on Sunday. “At the eruption of La Palma, a new crater has opened in the main cone. We will see how long it lasts because now it is emitting lava flow,” said Itahiza Domínguez, an IGN seismologist. This was on his Twitter account. 

New evacuations 

In addition, a new lava flow was generated in the southeast of the volcano. It is moving south “slowly to Corazoncillo, an area that is now being evacuated and under special surveillance,” the Special Emergency Plan for the Canary Islands Volcanic Risk (PEVOLCA) reported. The Corazoncillo urban core is located in Las Manchas, one of the first areas affected by the volcano. 

PEVOLCA’s technical director, Miguel Ángel Morcuende, said at a press conference that these new lava releases started on Saturday and then stopped in the afternoon and then resumed flowing.” The first eruption began on September 19. 

‘Remarkable increase in seismicity’ 

He also reported in the past 24 hours there has been “a remarkable increase in seismicity, both deep and intermediate. It is one of the most remarkable things we still have; the quakes have been noticed by the residents of the affected municipalities. In any case, they felt the quake on Saturday measuring 4.9 on the Richter Scale and at a depth of 38 kilometres, the largest since the eruption began. 

After the press conference, IGN reported another earthquake at 6.15 pm local time, albeit a smaller magnitude of 4.3. 

Distortion is reduced 

However, the expert did say the degree of deformation of the island’s terrain as a result of the volcanic eruption is beginning to diminish. “This is recorded at the regional level”, ie at the stations that take the measurements furthest from the stations near the volcano. 

Morcuende also warned that magma is being redistributed to other parts of the island. According to the European Copernicus satellite system, in the second measurement taken this Sunday, the area devastated by the volcano has risen to 901.2 hectares, and the buildings destroyed to 2,146. This observation coincides with the reactivation of a new lava flow in the southern part of the eruption centre. 

In terms of the number of people evacuated, there are currently 439, ten more than yesterday, who are being accommodated in the Fuencaliente hotel and the Los Llanos de Aridane hotel. The number of affected hectares of farmland is now at 260 hectares, almost 14 more than at the time of the last update. Of this, 145 hectares correspond to banana trees, 53 to vineyards, and almost 23 to avocado cultivation. 

Not optimistic 

Apart from the above statistics, ABC writes that the inhabitants of La Palma are losing courage. Though the eruption provides a frightening yet spectacular visual spectacle, the volcano’s onlookers lose heart. At night the light on the street is mainly generated by the volcano. There are hardly any cars on the streets or people in bars. The general feeling is one of regret. “We all hang our heads,” said a hotel worker in Los Llanos. “People don’t even want to go to malls to buy something, for what?” 


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