Santa Cruz de La Palma, Spain, Sep 25 (EFE).- The eruption of the volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma entered its most explosive phase so far overnight Saturday, forcing the airport to close due to ash accumulation.
“La Palma airport is inoperative due to ash accumulation. Cleaning tasks have started, but the situation may change at any time,” Spanish airport operator Aena announced Saturday on Twitter.
“The priority is to ensure the safety of operations,” it added.
Some 6,000 people have been evacuated since the Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted last Sunday and rivers of lava devour homes, land and hotels.
Experts said a new lava flow has emerged since further eruptions on Friday, meaning there are three active lava flows.
One located further north has almost stopped and is 12 meters tall while the southern front continues to advance at 4 or 5 kmph with a height of 10 meters, Spain’s Homeland Security Department said.
The stream has a length of 3.8 kilometers and is 2.1 kilometers from the coast.
The volcano’s smoke plume above the Atlantic Canary archipelago reached up to 5,000 meters in height.
Some 240 hectares of land over 16 sq kms have been engulfed by the molten rock, according to data from the department.
Nearly 400 buildings, including homes, and 14 kilometers of roads have been destroyed.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced the government would declare an emergency zone in La Palma.
Since record-keeping began after the conquest of the Canaries in the 15th century, La Palma Island has been the site of seven of the 16 volcanic eruptions the archipelago has experienced. EFE