SANTA CRUZ DE LA PALMA – After the Cumbre Vieja volcano appeared to pause for a few hours on Monday, it has returned to a “more intense and exuberant phase” on Tuesday, Involcan scientists reported.
According to these experts, lava now flows out of the volcano from two vents. One is inside the volcanic cone and the other on the outside. There is concern about the lava flowing relatively quickly from the latter vent down the mountain.
The other and oldest lava flow is still one kilometre from the sea. The front of that stream is partly blocked by the mountain in Todoque. Therefore, the neighbourhoods where the lava is expected to hit the sea are still in lockdown. These are San Borondón, Marina Alta, Marina Baja and La Condesa.
Disaster Area Relief Package
On Monday, the Council of Ministers approved an aid package of €10.5 million for financial aid in buying homes and basic necessities for the victims on the island. This measure is part of a package in which La Palma has also been declared a disaster area. Approximately 6,000 people were evacuated and more than 600 homes and commercial buildings were destroyed. In addition, much public infrastructure has been destroyed, including various agricultural companies and industrial sites.
The scientists at Involcan speak of an “exuberant phase” that the volcano is now in, after the short break on Monday morning. This was due to a recharge of the magma and certainly not to the fact that the end of the magmatic reserve had been reached. This seems to be normal for a volcano that erupts in a strombolian fashion.
However, the experts are surprised at the amount of lava flowing out of the new opening, as well as the total amount the volcano has already spewed in just a week. Furthermore, that was also more than when the Teneguia erupted fifty years ago.
The new volcano erupted 46.3 million square feet of material within a week. In the case of the Tenequía, also on La Palma, that was 43 million m3 in 24 days.
More fluid and faster
The new and fast-flowing lava, which is being closely monitored, is more fluid than the previous flows and is moving rapidly towards the upper part of Tazacorte municipality. This speed can partly be explained by the fact that the new lava flows over an old lava tongue so that the new lava cools and solidifies less quickly.
La Palma is the most north-western island of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean next to Africa. The Cumbre Vieja is an active group of volcanoes on the southern part of La Palma. The chain is 18 kilometres long and has about 120 closely spaced volcanoes, the highest being the Deseada, 1,945 m.