Disasters & Accidents

Lava from La Palma volcano pours into ocean prompting alert over toxic steam

Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Nov 10 (EFE).- More lava has reached the Atlantic Ocean on the Spanish island of La Palma prompting the evacuation of nearby residential areas due to an increase of toxic steam as the molten rock pours into the seawater, authorities warned Wednesday.

The Transport Ministry said that the lava reached the ocean at Los Guirres beach at 1.45 AM.

Emergency services and crew had been deployed and were on standby, the ministry added.

The contrast in temperature as the red-hot lava, which is around 800 to 900C (1,472-1,652F), pours into the seawater triggered the release of vapor clouds containing hydrochloric acid which can be dangerous to breathe in.

Residential areas surrounding Los Guirres beach were evacuated weeks ago as the slow-moving rivers of lava approached the coast.

The Cumbre Vieja volcano started erupting on September 19 and multiple lava rivers have formed since, forcing evacuations and a relentless operation to collect the mountains of ash that continue to gather on the island.

Spain’s department of Homeland Security said that so far some 988.27 hectares have been affected by the eruptions, the equivalent of 1,384 soccer fields.

The National Geographic Institute recorded at least 30 earthquakes over night in the municipalities of Fuencaliente and Villa de Mazo.

The Spanish Navy has sent the Castilla vessel to help farmers tend to their harvest. La Palma relies heavily on its banana plantations and watering and reaching crops has been a struggle since the volcanic eruption started.EFE


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