The ash from the volcano makes the air quality on La Palma “extremely unfavorable”


The Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca) of the Canary Islands Government, which today celebrates 50 days since its activation by the eruptive process, stressed in its daily report that the inhabitants of the municipality of Los Llanos de Aridane must use FFP2 masks if they are going to go outside, as well as avoid doing physical activities outside. Likewise, immunosuppressed people are advised to stay in their homes and only go out when necessary. In the rest of the island’s municipalities, the air quality improved considerably in the last hours, so the indications are reduced to the use of the aforementioned face masks for people with health problems. For its part, the Tijarafe City Council announced last night that the school and nursery school in this municipality located in the northwest of the island will remain closed today to proceed with the cleaning work.

This situation is produced by a combination of factors: the large amount of ash emitted by the different emitting cones, the low strength of the wind and the thermal inversion, which stands at 800-1,000 meters, with a tendency to drop today to 600-800 , so it is likely to make atmospheric conditions even more difficult. Thus, the Pevolca indicated that the wind could move the fine earth that comes out through the plume towards the rest of the islands of the Archipelago in “small concentration” when the wind rolls to the east. Carmen López has already pointed out that the airports of La Palma and La Gomera are likely to register problems with operation. Already late in the afternoon yesterday, the Binter and CanaryFly airlines canceled the last connections with the Isla Bonita due to the presence of volcanic sand. This high ash emission was accompanied by a decrease in audible explosions, as stated by López.

The scientist also stressed that during the last week there has been a downward trend in the emission of sulfur dioxide (SO2), which yesterday reached 4,999 tons. This parameter, which a week ago emitted up to 50,000 tons per day, is one of those that can indicate the stage of the volcano. “It is one of the signs that the dynamics of the eruption are giving you,” said López. “The lower it goes, the better news for us as a variable that would indicate something else,” said the technical director of Pevolca, Miguel Ángel Morcuende, who stressed that, in any case, the SO2 emission is “still very noticeable.” And it is that the figure has to be between 100 and 400 tons to glimpse the end of the volcanic process.

Another factor that is classified as positive is seismicity. “The number is still high, but it is decreasing,” stressed Morcuende, who pointed out that especially those that are at a depth greater than 20 kilometers have dropped. «We are seeing that almost everything [el magma] it moves 10-11 kilometers, at an intermediate depth, ”Morcuende said. Between 00:00 and 20:30 yesterday, the different seismic stations of the Island detected up to 173 earthquakes, the maximum of them with a magnitude 4.4, an intensity IV (felt in a large part of the Island) and at a depth of 38 km at 20.24 hours. Morcuende stressed that there are no superficial events, “which is important to avoid major problems” since it may be related to the possible opening of a new emission center. Another positive data is the deformation, which maintains a stable pattern without any elevation.

Meanwhile, the lava continues to gush out of the different mouths and continues its way towards the sea on the south face. The situation is complicated, especially given the possibility that in the next few hours the new laundry that emerged during the weekend on the slopes of Montaña Cogote will end up rendering one of the two access routes to the tourist town of Puerto Naos useless. that remain open, the so-called Camino Marta, after burying a section of the LP-211. The Pevolca technical director explained that the hot volcanic material was “on top” of this last road yesterday afternoon.

In case it is buried, the only way to reach the aforementioned Llanense neighborhood would be through a narrow path that starts at the Valle Aridane tennis club, which has only one lane used until now as a descent and that would go both ways. This would complicate the transfer of farmers to irrigate their farms and of technicians who, for example, started up desalination plants for agricultural activity. “It takes away 50% of our chances of moving personnel and moving machinery,” Morcuende declared.

Given this situation, the Navy will study this week the conditions of the coast of Tazacorte for the transfer by boats of workers from the port of this municipality to different points from which they can access the plantations. This measure, requested by the Cabildo de La Palma, would significantly reduce the displacements of farmers who reside in the north of the valley and who currently have to make a journey by car to Puerto Naos that can take up to an hour and a half. The Maritime Action Vessel (BAM) Tornado will set sail today from the Arsenal of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with a team that is scheduled to begin to recognize the funds tomorrow.

The destruction of the accesses to Puerto Naos also generates more problems for a future reconstruction of the area since it would force the Government of the Canary Islands to create a new race to reach the tourist town. This language of lava, called number 11, also threatens more than a hundred homes in the neighborhoods of La Majada and Las Norias, the latter after last weekend escaping the destruction caused by another front that brushed the tourist urbanization. This last arm continues to feed the Las Hoyas strip, formed by the San Juan volcano in 1949, and was located yesterday morning 150 meters from the coast after expanding the width of the streams to 3.1 kilometers.

As for the affected area, it increased yesterday to 967 hectares (4.2 more), according to the European Copernicus program. Of these, 281 are cultivated, of which 158 are banana trees, 58 vineyards and 23 avocado trees.

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