The end of the volcanic activity on the Cumbre Vieja de La Palma It is not close. The seismicity recorded during the last days on the island, the measurements of the gases emitted by the volcano and the analysis of the deformations of the ground indicate that the eruption is in a “mature” phase, so it is necessary to prepare “to take enough days “, as explained this Tuesday the spokesmen of the Volcanic Emergency Plan of the Canary Islands (Pevolca). The scientific community still does not put an expiration date on the eruptive process, since it depends on the dynamics of the volcano and the amount of magma it contains. The eruption could last between 24 and 84 days, with an average of 55 days, a period that places the sunset of the volcano in mid-November, according to initial calculations made by the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan). In its first 17 days of activity, the volcano that arose on September 19 had emitted about 45 million cubic meters of lava, compared to the 43 that the Teneguía expelled (1971) throughout the 24 days that its eruptive process lasted. and the 55 that sprouted from San Juan (1949) during the 47 days that it was active.
The volcanic material has traced a path of destruction on its way to the sea. The European system of terrestrial surveillance Copernicus estimates that the lava has already engulfed 1,154 buildings, of which 108 are partially damaged. By crossing this information with the Cadastre data, Pevolca confirms that 726 buildings have been destroyed, of which 605 are homes, 58 are agricultural farms, 30 are for industrial use, 18 for leisure and hospitality, seven for public use and another eight of other uses. The discrepancy in the data is due to the fact that Copernicus detects all the buildings, but does not differentiate between a house and a pergola or a chicken coop. According to the latest measurements, 420 hectares have been devastated by the magmatic fluid, which devastated 6.74 hectares in the last day. The stream covers a perimeter of 36.24 kilometers and reaches a maximum width of 1,250 meters at certain points.
The emergency and security teams that work in a coordinated manner to attend the volcanic crisis are made up of 553 people, who rotate in different shifts
The experts’ forecast is that the lava runs over the lava that reached the shoreline, although they monitor and watch the behavior of the language in case it widens or moves towards territories that are still in good condition. In the last hours, no new emission centers have been detected, although the presence of a fissure has been confirmed that is located about one hundred meters northeast of the main cone. This gap expels gases and high soil temperature, but the director of the National Geographic Institute (IGN) in the Canary Islands, María José Blanco, assures that the finding, for the moment, has no eruptive character and is unimportant, since it is located in the environment of the active cone. The pouring that erupted on Friday from the two foci located more to the northwest does not show activity. Although the emission centers of the main crater and those located on the sides of the cone are still active. In addition, the Pevolca does not rule out that new mouths may arise in the environment of the current effusive centers.
The delta, fed by several lobes of the runoff, continues to grow and has already exceeded 36 hectares – which is equivalent to 36 football fields – and its front on the coastline is 540 meters. The marine plume remains along the edge of the lava delta and produces clouds of water vapor and hydrochloric acid (HCl), which are concentrated in a small area around the contact between the sea and the lava. According to the first data provided by the researchers of the ship Ramón Margalef, the effect of the delta on the marine environment seems to affect only a sheet of water less than 5 meters deep, reaching a distance of 200 meters from the front.
The delta continues its growth fed by several points of emission of the lava flow that reaches the sea. This territory already exceeding 36 hectares.
Air quality is good
The scientific committee insists that the air quality on La Palma is good and pointed out a decrease in the concentration of particles smaller than 10 microns, whose presence can cause respiratory problems. This improvement is due to the entry of the trade winds and the rise in height of the thermal inversion layer, which stabilizes the environment and releases gases. However, this scenario will change in the coming days, as the inversion layer will fall again, there will be a slight atmospheric worsening and the weather conditions will be unfavorable from the point of view of air quality.
This Wednesday a turn of the wind is expected from the northeast to the east and south component above 1,500 meters. This will help direct the ash cloud towards the northeast slope of the island, which could affect the operation of La Palma Airport during the second half of the afternoon. Regarding the emission of gases, the level of sulfur dioxide (SO2) remains at high levels and exceeds 1,200 tons per day, with a cumulative of 250,000 tons since the eruption began. What’s more, the volcano on La Palma tree summit expelled 1,600 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) over the course of Monday.
Pevolca points out that the volcano has devastated 420.1 hectares of La Palma, about 6.74 more than the previous day. The perimeter of the affected area is 36.24 kilometers.
Episodes of seismicity do not stop on La Palma, especially in the southern municipalities of Fuencaliente and Villa de Mazo, where the population has been able to feel several tremors. The technical director of Pevolca, Miguel Ángel Morcuende, stressed that the earthquakes are concentrated in the area where the activity was detected between seven and ten days before the volcano erupted.. The depth of most of the tremors is located between 10 and 15 kilometers, which implies a deep or medium deep seismicity. In the last hours dozens of movements have been located and the largest ones were 3.6. However, Morcuende assured that the parameters indicate that the appearance of some emission center in the municipalities most affected by seismicity is “practically nil”.
At the Princess hotel in Fuencaliente, 209 people of the nearly 6,000 who were evacuated are staying. To attend the volcanic crisis An operation has been deployed configured by 553 troops who work in a coordinated manner, counting on the personnel of the Advanced Command Post, the security operative group, the intervention operative group and the logistics group.