Seismic series of the Spanish island of La Palma not over yet

by Lorraine Williamson
seismic series still continues in La Palma
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CANARY ISLANDS – The seismic series of earthquakes is still not over on the Canary Island of La Palma. Although the risk of a volcanic eruption is not over, the earthquakes on Thursday are diminishing in strength. However, the emergency plan is still in effect. 

In total, more than 3,000 small earthquakes have been counted on the Spanish island since Saturday. The National Geographic Institute (IGN) has detected 22 seismic movements as of Thursday, the most massive of which measured 1.9 on the Richter scale. The institute reports that the quakes are weakening. 

Code yellow emergency plan still in force for four municipalities 

Despite the fact that the earthquakes are weakening, the regional authorities of the islands are not yet able to breathe a sigh of relief. There is also still a code yellow of the emergency plan for the municipalities of El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridane, Mazo and Fuencaliente. 

When code yellow is issued, the seismicity is monitored more closely. Also, the population is informed. Furthermore, they are prepared for a possible evacuation. But only if there is a reason to change the alarm code to orange or even red. 

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Chance of volcanic eruption small but not inconceivable 

The fact that the emergency plan is still in effect is the discovery of a small reservoir of magma by the Instituto Vulcanológico de Canarias. About 11 cubic metres of magma is located on the inside of the Cumbre Vieja volcano. This is at a depth of around 6 to 7 kilometres. The bottom terrain of the volcano has also changed by a few centimetres. Although the chance of an earthquake is small, researchers at the institute cannot rule it out yet. 

According to geologist José Luis Barrena, it remains a seismic series that generally does not lead to a major volcanic eruption or aftershocks. Historical data on the island of La Palma from the last 600 years also show that there have been several seismic tremors. Some of which have led to a very small lava emission. However, in most cases, this was not an explosive eruption. 

The last volcanic eruption on the Canary Island of La Palma concerns the eruption of the volcano Teneguía in October and November 1971. 

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