Disasters & Accidents

La Palma residents advised to stay home as lava spills into sea

Madrid, Sep 29 (EFE).- Emergency services in the Canary Islands Wednesday told residents along La Palma’s western coast to stay home with their doors and windows shut to avoid inhaling toxic gases that could be released as lava flows into the sea.

The lava flowing from the new volcano that erupted on the Cumbre Vieja ridge 10 days ago reached the sea on Tuesday night. With a temperature of around 1,000 C (1,832F), the molten rock could create a thermal shock and release toxic steam when it comes into contact with the sea, which has a temperature of around 20C, scientists warned.

Upon reaching the seawater, the molten rock has created a deposit 50 meters high and now started to form a lava delta, the Spanish Institute of Oceanography wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

La Palma’s residential towns of San Borondon, Marina Alta, Marina Baja and La Condesa, closest to where the lava entered the sea, have been pre-emptively locked down since Sunday due to the danger of toxic gases being emitted.

The Cumbre Vieja volcano that became active on September 19 for the first time in 50 years has resulted in widespread destruction, evacuations and curfews.

Some 686 houses, as well as a total surface of 258 hectares (637 acres), have been devoured by lava flows so far, according to the latest calculations from the EU’s Copernicus Earth Monitoring Service.

Scientists at the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute (Involcan) estimate that the eruption is spewing between 7,997 and 10,665 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) into the atmosphere each day. EFE


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