Disasters & Accidents

La Palma’s volcano in numbers

By José María Rodríguez

Las Palmas, Spain, Dec 11 (EFE).- The volcanic eruption on La Palma is on course to become the longest recorded in the island’s history this weekend when, at exactly 3.13pm on Sunday, it overtakes the 1585 Tahuya eruption.

In the almost three months since the eruption began, the lava delta that has formed in the sea off the coast of La Palma, in the Spanish Canary Islands, covers a larger area than the Vatican City.

Here’s a look at La Palma’s as yet unnamed volcano in numbers gathered from scientific and political organizations in the region.

0 (or 1?) victims

No one has lost their life as a direct result of the eruption thanks to the quick thinking of the authorities and scientists who evacuated the area when the eruption seemed imminent. It finally occurred at 3.13pm on Sunday, September 19.

However, one accident that could be indirectly related to the eruption is under investigation.

On November 13, the body of a 72-year-old man was found near his property. The man had been granted permission to access the exclusion zone to clean ash from his house. The autopsy was inconclusive and experts are now analyzing whether he died as a result of the volcano, by inhaling toxic gas, for example, from a fall, or from natural causes.


The strongest earthquake registered so far on the island occurred on November 19, two months after the eruption began, and measured 5.1 on the Richter scale.


The lava delta that has formed off the coast of La Palma covers an area of 50 hectares, about the same size as 70 soccer fields. It is Spain’s newest territory.


Authorities have sealed off an area of 61km (38 miles) around the volcanic eruption since September 19.


The most earthquakes registered in a single day, on November 30.


The number of workers temporarily laid off due to the volcano.


The number of buildings destroyed by the eruption, which according to Spain’s housing register Catastro include 1,304 homes, 179 farm buildings, 74 factories and industrial lots, 40 businesses and 15 schools, places of worship and public buildings.

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