These are the first underwater images of the lava delta of the La Palma volcano


An underwater robot equipped with a 360-degree camera has been the first to dive off the coast of Tazacorte, on La Palma, and capture for the first time underwater images of the delta formed by the lava from the eruption of the volcano that is falling into the ocean.

The work has been promoted by the Institute of Oceanography and Global Change of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) whose experts from the Quima group, specialized in acidification of the marine environment, have worked in collaboration with the Canarian company Ecos (Environmental Studies and Oceanography).

The images have been recorded on the southern, western (front) and northern flanks of the lava delta.

The result of this mission has been made available to the Canary Islands Special Volcanic Risk Protection Plan (Pevolca) so that they can be studied by experts in geology and volcanology.

This will be the change in the seabed

Despite the huge losses it is causing the advance of the lava flows on land, the arrival of the lava to the sea will be beneficial for the marine ecosystem. After the destruction of the first moment, marine life will emerge with more force thanks to the new nutrients that will have been deposited. “Those compounds of silica, aluminum, iron, magnesium or calcium also reach the sea and there they undergo a process of alteration by the water, which releases these compounds and logically also provides many nutrients so that more underwater life develops” , explained to elDiario.es María José Hueras, Petrologist at the Department of Petrology and Geochemistry of the Faculty of Geological Sciences of the Complutense University of Madrid.

At first, microalgae with very simple structures will appear, some invertebrates and they will be replaced by algae with longer-lived growth, more complex morphological structures.

Carlos San Gil
Seabed Expert

“The wash will generate, to expand the rocky substrate in this part of the coast that will have a positive effect because it is going to create a natural reef where the species are going to settle little by little ”, affirmed Carlos San Gil, recognized expert in the La Palma seabed and professor and professor at the University of La Laguna. “They are species that are affected by the volcano, but their diaspora, their seeds, their larvae, their propagules, will go to these areas helped by the currents and little by little, through a natural process of recolonization, a succession will take place. ecological, that is to say, that some species are gradually being substituted in time until a climax community is completed, which will be the finalist community ”.

“At first, microalgae with very simple structures will appear, some invertebrates and they will be replaced by algae with longer-lived growth, more complex morphological structures”, points out San Gil, who states that “in the case of algae, it may take a while. Once the eruption ceases and the substrate is fully stabilized, one or two years, where the communities will be tremendously similar, if not equal, to that of other annexed parts, “added San Gil.

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