Volcano spews lava on La Palma

Auf the Canary Island of La Palma there were several volcanic eruptions on the Cumbre Vieja mountain range on Sunday afternoon. Pictures showed lava and ash being thrown into the air and smoke rising in the El Paso area in the south of the island. A crack with initially five openings had opened up. Lava flows rolled through the largely uninhabited forest area towards the coast, igniting smaller fires and destroying the first houses.

On Sunday, German and British tourists had hiked in the nature reserve nearby. The rescue operation then began in the afternoon: by evening around 5,000 people, including several hundred vacationers, had been brought to safety, soldiers and other rescue workers were called to the area to help. The authorities called the highest “red” alert level for El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridane and other neighboring towns. The second highest alert level has been in effect since Tuesday for the 30,000 residents in the southwest of the island. You were asked to prepare light baggage and follow the current warnings.

Since September 11th, experts had registered a significant accumulation of smaller earthquakes, the focus of which began at a depth of more than 20 kilometers, but gradually came closer and closer to the surface of the earth. More than 25,000 minor tremors and a number of more powerful quakes were recorded. The most violent of these, just before the first eruption on Sunday, had a magnitude of 3.8.

The last major outbreak on La Palma was fifty years ago. In October 1971, the Teneguía volcano spat lava for more than three weeks; two people were killed at the time. The last time there was a volcanic eruption on the sea floor off the neighboring island of El Hierro occurred in 2011. After the Canarian regional president Ángel Víctor Torres came to El Paso on Sunday, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez went there. He postponed his departure for the UN General Assembly in New York to see the situation for himself.


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