SANTA CRUZ DE LA PALMA – The lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano, which has been erupting since September 19, has reached the sea at a new point, further north of the previous fajana and closer to the port of Tazacorte.
The authorities have ordered the preventive detention of some 3,000 people for at least 24 hours. This is in the towns of Tazacorte, San Borondón, and the area from El Cardón to the Camino Los Palomares. And it is because of possible emissions of harmful gases to health.
The Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands has confirmed more lava has reached the sea. Furthermore, it is the lava that has risen above lava flow number seven, which was most active this weekend. After joining lava flow four, between the mountains of Todoque and La Laguna, this flow finally reached the sea at 12.01 am on Monday. This was at a point further north of the first delta that had opened since the night of September 28.
The technical director of the Volcanic Emergency Plan of the Canary Islands (Pevolca), Miguel Ángel Morcuende, explained the military emergency unit (UME) is carrying out gas measurements in the area where the lava flows into the sea. Morcuende has acknowledged that the Pevolca did not expect the lava to reach the sea through this area so quickly. The other flows remain stable, with contribution from lava flows in 1, 2, and 9, which have practically merged.
Since the start of the eruption, the island of La Palma has grown by 43 hectares. This is as a result of the lava deltas or strips created by lava when it reaches the Atlantic Ocean. Moreover, this is according to the latest data published by the European satellite system, Copernicus.
Sulphur Dioxide Emissions Decrease
Sulphur dioxide emissions have reached a minimum since the start of the eruption. However, between 900 and 1,300 tons per day, winds from the west and southwest have caused air quality problems in the municipalities east of the island. This mainly affects Santa Cruz de La Palma, Brena Alta, and Brena Baja.
For this reason, Pevolca has extended the recommendations to those municipalities that have been applied to the population of the Aridane Valley since the start of the eruption: use of FFP2 masks due to the presence of particles smaller than ten microns and the most sensitive population is not recommended to go outside.
Scientific spokesperson Carmen López recalled that it is still early to draw conclusions about the decline in sulphur dioxide emissions. She emphasised that this parameter registers a large variability. And, therefore, it will be necessary to wait for the measurements to evaluate the evolution of sulphur dioxide. It is clear, however, that this trend has continued since September 23.
The volcano on the Canary Island will enter its ninth week of activity on Monday. 64 days in which a total area of 1,065 hectares has been affected according to the European satellite program Copernicus. The latest estimates from the Land Registry report damage to 1,481 damaged buildings (1,193 residential, 159 agricultural, 67 industrial, 34 leisure and hotel, and 28 other uses).
Airport closed due to the ash
Meanwhile, the accumulation of ash keeps La Palma airport out of action for the third day, as reported by the airport manager AENA. Given the weather forecast, with southwest winds, the incidents in aviation operations are expected to continue for the next 24 to 48 hours, Pevolca spokespersons said at a news conference.