Disasters & Accidents

La Palma awakes to silence as feisty volcano records lull in activity

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, Dec 15 (EFE).- The Spanish island of La Palma, which has been in the midst of a feisty volcanic eruption for 88 days, awoke to silence Wednesday with experts recording no observable signs of volcanic activity.

“Good morning from a deeply calm Aridane Valley, without any observable eruption: no lavas, no pyroclasts or notable earthquakes, which is excellent news,” Volcanologist at the National Geographic Institute, Rubén López, tweeted at 6.46 am (GMT time).

The Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcán) also announced that sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions had plummeted to less than five tons per day, which is considered an “extremely low” quantity when compared to the several thousands of tons the Cumbre Vieja volcano had been spewing on a daily basis at the height of its activity.

Tremors, which occur due to the vibrations generated by the pressure of magma in the subsoil as it travels towards the surface, stopped at about 9:00 PM on Monday.

By Tuesday night, Involcán and the IGN confirmed no tremors had been recorded.

It is not the first time that volcanic indicators have stopped since Cumbre Vieja started its eruption on September 19, but previous hiatuses in the volcano’s activity had barely lasted a few hours and were followed by strombolian — explosive — reactivations and dense lava flows.

In the early hours of Monday, before tremors stopped, the volcano gushed enormous amounts of SO2 which hovered over the island in dangerous levels that were not dispersed owing to the  meteorological conditions.

For the first time since the volcano started its eruption some 33,000 residents of the Aridane Valley region were advised to shelter from the toxic gas and remain inside their homes for almost five hours.

The lockdown was lifted once air quality improved, but soon after the volcano engaged in a new round of explosive activity which lasted just over an hour. Large clouds of ash and lava bombs were expelled from the volcano’s cone, a spokesperson for Pevolca reported.

By 9PM Monday (8PM GMT), the volcano quietened.

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