The figures left by the La Palma volcano after a month of eruption

Scientists who have followed the birth of a new volcano in Cumbre Vieja, on La Palma, they never tire of repeating that it is a “manual” strombolian eruption, which fulfills everything that could be expected of a phenomenon of these characteristics in Canary Islands.

However, as “normal” as it may be in geological terms, the figures for this volcano are staggering: a volume of volcanic materials expelled in just one month that would have filled all the reservoirs of Gran Canaria twice, thousands of small earthquakes with which the subsoil of La Palma has not left quiet for a single day, 1% of the island covered with malpaís, 8% of its population evacuated from their homes, a lava delta reclaimed from the sea of an area close to the Vatican state … And, above all, thousands of victims and destroyed houses and farms.

These are some of the data and more shocking magnitudes that this volcano still unnamed after one month of eruption:


It is the great success of the entire deployment of scientific and emergency teams that has been working on La Palma for more than a month: not a single life has been lost, nor has anyone been injured.


Maximum magnitude of earthquakes recorded to date, on an earthquake on Saturday October 16 that also marked the maximum intensity measured on the island in these weeks: IV-V on a maximum of XII, between “widely felt” and “strong”. No damage.


Those that have occurred on La Palma since there historical records in the Canary Islands; that is, since the Conquest of the island by the Kingdom of Castile in the s. XV: Tacande / Burnt Mountain (1430/1440), Tehuya (1585), Martin or Tigalate (1646), San Antonio (1677/1678), The Puddle (1712), Saint John (1949), Teneguía (1971) and the current one.


Average depth of earthquakes recorded in the last week. The maximum depth since the beginning of the eruption exceeds 36 kilometers; the minimum, does not reach 1,000 meters.


Height that some lava fronts have reached as they pass through various places of The Plains of Aridane, As the town of Todoque. But it is not the maximum: thicknesses of 50 meters have been detected in the wash when it exceeded some troughs of the land.


It is what measures the youngest terrain in Spain. The “fajana” or delta that the main lava flow has formed when entering the Atlantic Ocean through Los Guirres beach, in Tazacorte.


Cumulative length of the road sections over which the lava flows have passed.


Time elapsed since the previous eruption that occurred on La Palma in 1971, in the extreme south of the island, in Fuencaliente. The volcano that it formed received the name of Teneguía.


Measure the perimeter around the lava zone.


Average duration of eruptions on La Palma, which to date have had a constant downward trend, from the 84 days of the Tehuya volcano (1585) to the 24 of the Teneguía (1971). This volcano has already broken that dynamic.


Surface of the crops damaged by the volcano: 106.91 of banana trees, 51.51 of vines and 16.31 of avocado.


Amount of land buried by the lava in El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridane and Tazacorte, according to the Copernicus satellite. It represents 1% of the island’s surface (7.43 out of 708 km2).


Affected by runoff since the eruption began, 854 for residential use, according to the Cadastre figures. The European Copernicus satellite emergency monitoring system brings that count to double: 1,826 buildings of all kinds destroyed.

1,000 CASH

Approximate figure, fluctuates almost every day. They are the national police, local agents, civil guards, firefighters from various islands, forest brigades, soldiers from the UME and the Army, sailors from the Navy and members of the Civil Protection or Red Cross, among other bodies, mobilized to protect the population of La Palma against any risk.


Temperature reached by some of the flows that have passed through the Aridane Valley.


Neighbors residing in homes affected by the volcano: 905 in Los Llanos de Aridane, 290 in El Paso and 112 in Tazacorte.

2,350 METERS

Maximum width that the stream has reached when expanding through the Aridane Valley.


Since this volcanic crisis began as a seismic crisis, with a maximum magnitude of 4.6 on October 16.


Educational community affected by the suspension of classes in the municipalities of El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridane and Tazacorte.

7,000 PEOPLE

Evacuated from their homes in El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridane and Tazacorte for being in the area buried by the runoffs or within the perimeter of risk due to gases or falling pyroclastic materials. Or what is the same, one out of every five people who resided in those municipalities (about 7,000 out of the 32,984 registered in the three municipalities) has had to leave their home. Of these, 321 are housed in a hotel in Fuencaliente.

7,000 METERS

Height reached by the ash plume emitted by the main cone of the volcano on September 28.

15,000 TONS

Volume of gases that the volcano expels each day, mostly sulfur dioxide (SO2). It would take that amount to drop to 100 tons per day for scientists to consider it an indication that the eruption is coming to an end.

140,000 TONS

Amount of bananas that La Palma exported each year. It is the economic sector and the crop most affected by the eruption


Donations from individuals in favor of the victims made through the Cabildo of La Palma.


Amount of materials emitted by the volcano according to the upper band of the latest estimate released by the scientific committee (75 million m3, with an upward or downward margin of 25 million). It is more that the volcanoes of San Juan, in 1949, and Teneguía, in 1971, expelled it together. By volume, this is already the third most important eruption in the history of the Canary Islands, after that of Timanfaya, in Lazarote (1,000 million m3 ), and the submarine volcano Tagoro, in El Hierro (329 million).


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