The La Palma eruption figures: numbers for a historic volcano

The La Palma volcano has reached this Saturday the 84 days duration of the longest eruption to date on the island since there are historical records, that of Tehuya in 1585, which it will safely exceed at 3:13 p.m. this Sunday, because a phenomenon like this does not stop overnight. but in a process of weeks.

In these almost three months of activity, the unnamed volcano has left unmatched damage in the last century of Europe's relationship with volcanoes (the bill now stands at more than 900 million euros, with 7,000 evacuated). By the way, it has formed lava flows that would completely cover Melilla and has gained as much ground from the sea as to house the Vatican State.

For a long time the scientific committee that follows the eruption has not published one of the most illustrative figures of the size of the volcano, such as the volume of material emitted so far (the latest data corresponds to day 47 of activity: 120 million m3, three times the eruption of I had a guide 1975). But this eruption does not lack shocking magnitudes, these are some:

0 (or 1?) Victims

No one has lost their life in the La Palma eruption by direct effect of the volcano, since the entire affected area has always been evacuated in advance, even at the most uncertain moment: in the hours that preceded the eruption of the volcano at 3:13 p.m. on Sunday, September 19 in Cow's head.

However, there is an accident under investigation: on Saturday, November 13, the lifeless body of a 72 year old man that he had entered the excluded area the day before, with permission to clean a house of ash in the Corazoncillo neighborhood. The autopsy was inconclusive. Complementary analyzes will determine whether his death was directly related to the volcano (for example, by inhaling gases) or indirect (by falling from a roof removing ash) or if, on the contrary, it was due to natural reasons unrelated to the emergency.


Maximum magnitude of earthquakes occurred in this crisis in La Palma. It was registered in the early morning of November 19th.


Maximum intensity reached by the earthquakes in this volcanic crisis, on a scale that goes up to XII. An earthquake of intensity V it is already classified as "strong": Not only is it widely felt by the population, but damage appears on the scale at that level. Always mild: some glass breakage or some fissure in coatings, of little importance.

50 hectares

It is the surface that the two lava deltas formed on the coast of Tazacorte. Those two strips are the youngest fields in Spain. The largest, 44 hectares, would fit the entire Vatican State, which has just that area, or 19 basilicas of St. Peter (2.3 hectares).

60.08 kilometers

Perimeter of the area covered by the wash from the September 19th. It is almost equivalent to the length of one of the great motorways that surround Madrid: the M-40 (63.3 km)

72.75 kilometers

Length of the public roads covered by lava: 10.80 km of streets, 2.86 of the LP-213 highway, 2.55 of the LP-2132, 2.30 of the LP-2 and 2.14 of urban crossings, to mention the most affected. Added to all, it is the distance that goes from Zaragoza to Huesca.

360 hectares

Crop extension affected by lava: 224.99 hectares of banana trees, 62.37 off vineyards and 27.33 of avocado trees. 54.4% of the damaged crops are in Tazacorte, 35.64% in Los Llanos de Aridane and 9.96% in El Paso.

375 earthquakes

Record of earthquakes recorded by the seismic networks from the island on the same day, November 30.

1,575 workers at ERTE

It is the latest published figure on the workers directly affected by the volcano whose companies have taken advantage of the modality of temporary regulatory files from job expressly created to serve the La Palma is experiencing an emergency.

1,628 buildings

Affected by lava, according to General Directorate of Cadastre, of which 1,304 are homes, 179 rooms for agricultural use, 74 factories and industrial warehouses, 40 leisure and hospitality businesses, 15 schools, temples and spaces for public use. The most damaging days of the lava were September 20 and 29, when 159 and 151 properties were affected in just 24 hours, respectively.

1,173 hectares

Land covered by different lava flows. To this extension, we must add another one not specified to date: the areas that the lava has not touched, but that are buried by the layer of ash, in some places several meters thick.

The area covered by lava only represents 1.69% of the island's surface (12 of its 708 km2), but it is home to one of the most fertile and productive agricultural plains in the Canary Islands, with numerous homes in scattered centers. If that "slab" of lava three kilometers wide in some points were taken to other coordinates of the Spanish geography, it would cover almost completely the entire surface of Melilla (12.3 km2).

7,000 evacuated

Above that figure is the number of residents evacuated since the eruption began. Almost three months after the eruption started, only 30 families They have been able to return to their homes in two neighborhoods of Los Llanos, when the lava flow that threatened that area was considered paralyzed.

8,506 earthquakes

Accumulated since September 9. Since that day began "the seismic swarm" (sequence of dozens of small earthquakes) that preceded the eruption, La Palma has not stopped shaking, with days in which more than 300 earthquakes have been registered.

8,374,356 euros

Amount of donations from Business and private citizens collected by the Cabildo de La Palma in favor of the victims.

906,800,000 euros

The latest valuation of the damage caused by the volcano that the Government of Canary Islands has communicated to his Parliament.


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