Two new lava streams have been observed emerging from the Northern Flank of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, which erupted on September 19, on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma.
The volcano has since destroyed over 980 buildings, with over 6000 people evacuated. Spain, meanwhile, has declared the island a disaster zone and has vowed to assist with the recovery.
Trimmers have been consistent, with the volcano’s magma entering the Atlantic Ocean, causing fears of laze and haze, which can lead to breathing and eye issues, as these plumes are a mix of water vapour, hydrochloric acid and ash. Concerns of eruptions on the coastline have also increased, since the magma creates a pressure cooker situation when mixing with colder sea water, with this likely to lead to a change in the actual geographic make-up of the coastline.
Speaking to Radio Islam International from Tenerife, Ben Ireland, a Geo Intern said,” I’d say, obviously, it’s a pretty unprecedented situation… we’ve never experienced anything like this. I think there’s a lot of different feelings going around.”
Mr Ireland did note that the volcanic lava has impacted less than 1% of the island, and that most of the citizens are safe. However, some of the lava flow has set alight some banana plantations and their green houses, causing smoke to loom as chemicals and plastics were released.
It was also noted that this will likely add to the coast line, and in the long term may be good for the island – Ireland noted that the current flow has moved in the direction of banana plantations growing on lava calcified land from a 1949 eruption. This is expected to inhibit the destruction caused by it.
Volcanic eruptions are difficult to predict, with Mr Ireland arguing that this would be impossible, especially in relation to the timing and size of the eruption. However, preceptory occurrences such as earth quakes, trimmers and the raising in the land-mass around the volcano can be used to predict eminent eruptions.
La Palma has experienced such eruptions in the past, the most famous being in 1949. The island subsequently imported soil to assist in the rehabilitation process, and will likely do the same.