Second earthquake of magnitude 5 in one weekend on La Palma

by Lorraine Williamson
magnitude 5 -

SANTA CRUZ DE LA PALMA – For the second time within a weekend, a magnitude 5 earthquake on the Richter scale has been recorded on the island of La Palma. Two severe quakes on the 42nd day of the volcanic eruption that began on September 19. 

42 days ago the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma started and today, it still continues. Also, the lava continues its march toward the sea. Currently, hundreds of tourists are on the island, because of the long weekend of All Saints’ Day. Moreover, they want to see and experience the eruption with their own eyes. 

According to the latest information from the Volcanological Institute of Pevolca, the emission of very liquid lava has increased in recent hours and the affected area is now 1000 hectares. In addition, the National Geographic Institute (IGN) recorded another magnitude 5 earthquake this Sunday. This is the second of its magnitude in 48 hours and the second in the entire period since the eruption began. 

The first of this magnitude occurred on Saturday at 7.24 am at a depth of 35 kilometres below Mazo. Meanwhile, on Sunday the powerful quake was registered at 5.52 am at a depth of 45 kilometres below Mazo. This quake has an intensity IV on a scale of XII and has been felt all over the island. 

Ash volume 

María José Blanco is the director of the National Geographic Institute (IGN) in the Canary Islands and spokesperson for Pevolca. She emphasised that in the past 48 hours there has been a significant emission of ash. This has covered the entire western and north-western side of the island.  

These ash emissions were accompanied by audible explosions of great intensity that could be caused by an intense degassing process. There have also been several volcanic jets – Aemet recorded 16 volcanic jets and shock waves linked to the volcano’s most energetic explosions yesterday (Saturday) between 9.48 am and 10.23 pm. 

Lower seismicity, but more intense lava production 

Miguel Ángel Morcuende, technical director of Pevolca, said at a news conference on Sunday that there is a decrease in the number of earthquakes, but that this is not accompanied by a decrease in lava production. In fact, the lava, which is very liquid, continues to feed on the main streams. 

Sulfur dioxide emissions in the plume continue to fall, but remain “very high,” Morcuende said. In addition, there has been an increase in particulate matter in the past 20 hours, mainly in Los Llanos de Aridane. 

Residents of five municipalities must stay indoors 

Due to the increased production of lava, authorities are urging residents of five municipalities not to take to the streets. These are the Aridane Valley, Los Llanos, El Paso and Tazacorte and Puntagorde and Tijarafe. 

There are currently 2,562 buildings and structures destroyed by lava and 146 are currently in danger. This means that a total of 2,708 buildings and structures were affected. 

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