An IGN volcanologist asks to banish the idea that the eruptions are quiet in the Canary Islands

Meletlidis notes that “We should get a bit out of the comparison with Teneguía” and “not to stay in the historical eruptions”, those that have been documented, but to broaden the perspective to see “how the volcanism has behaved since the islands exist”.

He explains that the basaltic volcanism in the Canary Islands has had examples of “short and low volume” eruptions of ejected material, such as Teneguía (1971) or the Chinyero, in Tenerife (it was in 1909 and lasted ten days), but also other more productive and durable ones, also on La Palma, such as those of the Birigoyo or The Desired.

For not citing the Timanfaya, in Lanzarote, whose eruption lasted six years: 1730-1736.

“At the end of the day we are talking about Canarian volcanism”, and at the same time the “pattern” of the volcano that began to erupt on September 19 at Cumbre Vieja should be circumscribed, says this expert.

And if it is due to temporal proximity, remember that the Tagoro underwater volcano, in El Hierro, erupted just ten years ago.

That volcano “is twice the size of this one,” says the IGN scientist. Its base has a diameter of one kilometer and is over 300 meters high.

Meletlidis also highlights that the Tagoro launched volcanic bombs that reached the surface of the sea, which “is no small thing.”

All this comes from the idea of ​​quiet eruptions in the Canary Islands, which he asks to ignore, and the risk associated with volcanic activity.

“Agree that this is a Strombolian eruption and it is relatively quiet … the problem is where the volcano came from,” says the IGN volcanologist, who thinks that had it had the duration or intensity of Teneguía or Chinyero it would have caused ” the same problem “in homes, farms and infrastructure.

“All volcanoes generate lava and ash columns. Nothing can be done there. What changes is the risk” associated with the level of development of each place, he reasons.

“It depends on what is on the slopes of the volcano” and, in the case of Cumbre Vieja, he emphasizes, the streams have flowed or threaten to flow through an area with “houses, roads, bridges, water tanks, a port … ”

Stavros Meletlidis believes that the eruption of the new volcano on La Palma is undergoing “expected processes” within the patterns of volcanology in the Canary Islands.

It has now entered a high ash emission phase as the lava outpouring continues, not as intense as a week ago after the last reconfiguration of the cone.

He believes that until the eruptive process is complete, it will not be possible to accurately quantify the amount of lava and pyroclasts emitted by this volcano, as well as its explosiveness index, and thus know what its magnitude is in comparison with other volcanoes since its formation. of the archipelago.

According to the latest estimates based on the emission of sulfur dioxide, the material emitted, between the cone, the streams and the fajana would be around 100 million cubic meters.

Meletlidis is waiting for a “full mapping” of the flows to make more accurate calculations, given that there is “a lot of lava” running through the volcanic tubes and flows that overlap one another.

So much so that, in just a few meters apart, a laundry can vary in height from three to twenty meters, he explains.

For the duration of the eruption, the scientific community will continue to monitor the volcano from every possible angle.

One of them is the analysis of the so-called “geochemical observables”, that is, of the gases emanating from the soil and those dissolved in water.

The IGN technician explains to Efe that samples dating back to the days before the eruption corroborate what was observed through seismic and geodetic data: a correlation between the deformation of the ground and the contribution of magmatic gases.

The importance of all this is that it is “reliable data” that “strengthens the overall interpretation of what is happening.”


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