La Palma: no end of volcanic eruption in sight

Status: 07.11.2021 5:34 p.m.

The volcano on La Palma has been active for seven weeks – making it the longest lasting eruption in more than 50 years. And there are no indications that it will end anytime soon.

Even seven weeks after its eruption, there are no indications that the volcano on the Canary Island of La Palma will come to rest. It is now the longest time in more than 50 years that a volcano has been continuously active on the tourist island.

Still no scientific data indicated that the volcano would extinguish in the near future, said the spokeswoman for the Pevolca emergency committee, Carmen López. According to her statement, the earthquakes associated with the eruptions have weakened somewhat and the amount of sulfur dioxide emitted by the volcano has recently decreased. It was 26,000 tons on Saturday and is an indicator of the strength of a volcanic eruption. But according to López, these are just normal fluctuations and therefore no sign of the all-clear.

No data suggests the outbreak will end anytime soon.

Image: dpa

1971: Teneguía spits lava for three weeks

The still nameless volcano erupted on September 19 in the Cumbre Vieja region in the south of the island. It was the first eruption on the island in around 50 years: in 1971 the Teneguía volcano had spat ash and lava. This outbreak lasted for about three weeks.

The current eruption has caused massive damage on the island: More than 2,700 buildings have been destroyed by the lava and rubble at almost 1,300 degrees Celsius. Around 983 hectares of land were buried under the lava flows, around 280 hectares of which were used as agricultural land. Off the coast, the lava formed a new peninsula that is already more than 40 hectares in size. More than 7,000 people had to get to safety and leave their homes and apartments.

Outbreak becomes a tourist magnet

At the same time, the eruption of the island brought a large influx of tourists. At the beginning of the month, hotels and guesthouses were 80 percent fully booked. However, the airport on La Palma had to stop operating several times because there was too much volcanic ash in the air. The volcano is still emitting clouds of black smoke. However, these were driven out to sea at the weekend by the wind direction.

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