Disasters & Accidents

Toxic steam threatens La Palma as lava river edges closer to ocean

Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, Oct 18 (EFE).- A river of sizzling lava that is expected to soon reach the Atlantic Ocean on the Spanish island of La Palma could result in dramatic explosions and toxic steam that will be released into the air, experts warned Monday.

One of the lava streams from the Cumbre Vieja volcanic eruption is just 200 meters from the coast, southwest of La Laguna Mountain, Spain’s Department of National Security (DSN) warned early Monday.

The lava streams with the largest volume of molten rock in the La Laguna neighborhood are traveling “at a slower speed and continue to advance in a west and northwest direction,” the DSN added

Air quality has worsened on the island and is expected to continue to present high volumes of sulfuric acid and ash until Tuesday.

Despite this, the DSN has reassured residents that “the maximum values ??that would require the adoption of new measures have not yet been exceeded.”

A thick cloud of ash forced the closure of La Palma’s airport on Sunday but changing winds are expected Monday which should push the debris in the air in another direction.

Some thirty earthquakes have shaken La Palma since midnight, the strongest one was recorded in Villa de Mazo 36 kilometers underground and was of a 4.6 magnitude on the Richter Scale, according to the National Geographic Institute (IGN).

Mazo seems to be the epicenter of La Palma’s seismic activity and has recorded all the strongest earthquakes since the Cumbre Vieja started erupting on September 19.

Several lava streams have been gushing out of the volcano’s vent reaching the coastal municipality of Tazacorte.

The first river lava to reach the area two weeks ago traveled south of the Todoque mountain and flowed into the ocean forming a molten rock delta in the Los Guirres beach.

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