The new eruptive focus that opened to the northeast of the main cone of the La Palma volcano has formed a second crater, annex to the main, due to the large amount of material it has expelled in a matter of 48 hours. This lava has generated a new stream that continues its advance towards La Laguna, although, as the technical director of the Volcanic Emergency Plan of Canaria (Pevolca), Miguel Ángel Morcuende, his speed had been significantly reduced yesterday due to his viscosity. The forecasts indicate that it will not progress “much more”.
A kilometer and a half separates this front from the neighborhood that already last October saw how the solidified magma washed away a large part of its main buildings: the school, two supermarkets, a gas station, the bank branch, a banana packing plant or society , which is still standing after the lava destroyed one of its walls until it entered the living room. Neighbors live in suspense with the new wash that runs down the slope next to the so-called number 8, which since last October 21 has been kept at the doors of the church of San Isidro Labrador and that still threatens to engulf the several dozen homes that have been saved so far from the eruption. Morcuende made it clear: there is less and less contribution, which together with the viscosity made it hardly grow in length. “Consequently, we hope that this casting does not progress much further,” he said.
And if it does, because another issuing center is created that contributes more material, the committee glimpses two scenarios: either it ends up burying what remains of La Laguna or it rides through number 8 with the possibility of reactivating it. What would happen with this possibility is still unknown, because it could join the 7 that formed the northern fajana or surround the mountain of La Laguna to cause more damage to banana plantations and homes, in addition to endangering the Tazacorte cemetery. Morcuende, in any case, stressed that it is difficult to make a forecast for the future and gave as an example what happened with the front that had formed south of the La Laguna mountain: «We said that it was going to reach the sea in a moment and it took 21 days”.
The technical parameters still do not suggest a cooling of the volcano’s activity, although they do provide some positive data. One of them is the reversal of the deformation of the terrain at the Jedey station (LP-03), which last Friday registered a growth of six centimeters in height. This phenomenon was once again the prelude to a reactivation of the process since it is related to the push of the magma in its search to come to the surface. However, the elevation of the terrain in this station, the closest to the volcano, previously preceded a greater emission of lava. On this occasion it resulted in the creation of the new effusive mouths that have originated the second crater, which now concentrates all the activity.
In this sense, the director of the National Geographic Institute (IGN), María José BlancoHe added that although a “visible emission” of material is not appreciated from this new cone, “it does continue to feed the lava tubes” which in turn contribute solidified magma to the two deltas formed in the sea and to the new stream. Meanwhile, from the main cone “there is practically no emission” of lava or gases, added the scientist. Likewise, Blanco declared that the tremor returned to low values yesterday, very similar to those of last week, after it remained at “high” levels during the last day and a half, coinciding with the formation of the new eruptive focus.
Seismicity, for its part, maintains the increase recorded last Sunday, especially at medium depths, while at more than 20 kilometers it continues at “low” levels. Thus, between 00 and 20 hours yesterday a total of 140 tremors were registered, four more than in all of Sunday; of which 122 occurred at intermediate depths and 18 at high ones. The maximum magnitude was 5.0 mbLg at 08.35 hours, 35 kilometers deep and felt with intensity IV-V (widely observed and strong), especially in La Palma and to a lesser extent in Tenerife, La Gomera and El Hierro . Blanco again outlined that the occurrence of VI intensity events (slightly harmful) is not ruled out on the European Macroseismic Scale (EMS). Likewise, sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the plume continues at high values (between 1,000 and 29,999 tons per day), according to measurements made with optical sensors, although the data recorded through satellites has maintained a downward trend since 23 of September.
This gas has also been the culprit of the high pollution experienced last Sunday in the Aridane Valley. María José Blanco explained yesterday that on Sunday the SO2 “reached very unfavorable maximum levels”, with Los Llanos de Aridane as the epicenter by exceeding the limit value in 17 of the 24 hours a day, while in Tazacorte it was exceeded in 10 hours and in El Paso in 2. These data led to the notice being issued to the population to reduce any activity on the street and if they had to leave their homes to do so with a FFP2 mask, as Morcuende pointed out.
The Pevolca technical director pointed out that during the first half of yesterday the situation had reversed, with good or reasonably good quality in all parameters (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, particles smaller than 2.5 microns, smaller particles 10 microns and ozone), except for sulfur dioxide at the Los Llanos and Puntagorda mobile stations, which was regular.
La Palma airport maintained normal operation for the third day in a row as the trade winds prevailed again, pushing ash and gases to the southwest. Weather forecasts suggest that this situation will continue until tomorrow, which represents a favorable scenario for air operations. The technical committee is also aware of the weather for next weekend, when an increase in the arrival of tourists to the Island is expected to, among other things, witness the evolution of the volcano on the occasion of the Constitution Bridge and the Immaculate Conception. . “It is important, very important, that among the measures adopted by people who come to see this volcano, in places where there is good visibility such as the Tajuya and El Time viewpoints, that they wear reflective vests at night” to thus avoiding accidents, Miguel Ángel Morcuende commented.
The technical director of Pevolca participated in an informative talk for the residents affected by the eruption in the afternoon, in which he explained the gas measurements that are carried out during the eruptive process as well as the ash cleaning plan. In the meeting, in which representatives of the security forces present in the emergency participated, the director of the Advanced Command Post, Marta Moreno; the Minister of Emergencies of the Cabildo de La Palma, Nieves Rosa Arroyo; the mayor of El Paso, Sergio Rodríguez; the mayor of Los Llanos de Aridane, Noelia García; and the head of the Office of Attention to Those Affected by the La Palma Volcano, Sergio Matos, anticipated that the access system to the exclusion zones will be improved in the coming days. To do this, a system will be implemented that will create a QR code that can be obtained through the website www.permiso.lapalma.es/solicitud. This measure will facilitate the control of people, according to the Ministry of Public Administrations, Justice and Security of the Government of the Canary Islands in a statement.
The delta located to the north already reaches an area of 5.05 hectares after on Monday, November 22, lavage 7 plunged down the cliff in the La Costa area.
The southern fajana, which began to form on September 28, already has a size of 43.46 hectares on the beach of Los Guirres, according to measurements made by Pevolca.
The Pevolca yesterday made a correction regarding the area affected by the eruption, which stood at 1,115 hectares compared to the 1,151 that it had given in last Saturday’s report.
The number of shelters did not change yesterday, standing at 528. There was only one change when five of them moved from the Fuencaliente hotel to the Los Cancajos hotel in Breña Baja.
Seismicity increased again yesterday. The number of earthquakes registered between 00 and 20 hours was 140, which is four more than in all of last Sunday.
The largest earthquake recorded yesterday was 5.0 mbLg, which occurred at eight thirty in the morning and was felt in La Palma, Tenerife, La Gomera and El Hierro.