The Vice-Rector’s Office for Research and Transfer of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) has created a Advisory Commission of the Eruptive Process of the Island of La Palma 2021 (CAPEA-ULPGC), in order to coordinate the taking of scientific data to make them available to the authorities and thus contribute to the monitoring of the eruptive process and help in decision-making.
Researchers from the ULPGC have been in permanent collaboration with the institutions related to monitoring the latest eruptive process that occurred on this island since the first seismic manifestations. In fact, the doctor Francisco José Pérez Torrado, from the research group GEOVOL (Geology of Volcanic Soils), participates as an expert in volcanology in the Scientific Advisory Committee to the PEVOLCA.
All the institutes and research groups of the ULPGC were invited to participate in this CAPEA-ULPGC commission, as it is necessary to promote multi-disciplinarity to resolve the complexity of the impact of this eruptive process. Several research groups that are already carrying out their research on La Palma in the areas of volcanology, geology, geophysics, physics or marine chemistry (GEOVOL, QUIMA, OFYGA, GIRMA, GEOGAR), along with others that are willing to collaborate in the short, medium or long term in the areas of biomarkers, biodiversity, fisheries resources, agronomy, veterinary medicine, cultural or landscape heritage, such as those of the university institutes of Aquaculture ECOAQUA, of Oceanography and Global Change IOCAG, of Animal Health and Food Safety IUSA and Analysis and Textual Applications IATEXT, or the research group in Architecture, Heritage and Landscape.
All the scientific results obtained by the ULPGC are being made available to the competent bodies (PEVOLCA, IGN, etc.) and will provide useful information for crisis management and help the island of La Palma, and provide scientific data of great interest from the knowledge generated in the university.
The Geology of Volcanic Soils research group GEOVOL is conducting studies on the volcanic eruption on the island of La Palma. The work carried out by the GEOVOL group in the field has consisted of direct observations on the development of the eruptive process and taking samples of lavas and pyroclasts at different points. From the lava samples, petrographic and geochemical studies will be carried out.
In addition, an ash sampling network has been established to carry out leachate studies that will make it possible to know the possible future impact on groundwater. Fine particle samples have also been taken using specific devices that will make it possible to investigate the behavior of lung cells when exposed to its effect.
At the same time, samples of pyroclasts of different granulometries have been taken to implement experiments in the laboratory in columns that allow determining their behavior in the treatment of wastewater.
The OFYGA Physical Oceanography and Applied Geophysics research group is carrying out measurements in the volcanic eruption of La Palma. This research group is making measurements with very precise GPS antennas to monitor the deformation of the terrain due to the magmatic intrusion into the subsoil that has finally led to the volcanic eruption. This work is being carried out in collaboration with the IGN, which has several fixed stations that measure continuously.
The deformation has reached a maximum around 28 cm near the eruptive mouth, dropping to about 8 cm at 6-7 km from it. At the moment it is stable. When the magmatic feedback in the subsoil stops, the deformation is expected to decrease, being one of the parameters that we can use for the analysis of volcanic activity.
In addition, having a spatial coverage of the deformation due to magmatic intrusion, it is possible to estimate the volume of magma that causes the deformation at a given instant.
The OFYGA group is very aware of seismicity with the idea of installing an accelerometer in the Fuencaliente area in addition to being aware of oceanographic measurements near the area affected by the lava in its contact with the sea.
Architectural Construction Department
On the other hand, the Department of Architectural Construction of the ULPGC has sent a communication to the different public administrations of the island of La Palma, putting at their disposal the human potential of the Teaching and Research Staff of this Department to help, in a selfless way, in everything they deem appropriate in relation to mitigating and repairing the damage caused by the volcano in Cumbre Vieja.