Ash and Lava Flows Continue to Wreak Havoc on La Palma in the Canary Islands

Nancy J. Delong

La Palma Lava Flows

Lava flows from Cumbre Vieja on La Palma in the Canary Islands on September twenty five, 2021. Credit history: Rob Simmon, Planet, used by permission.

The eruption of Cumbre Vieja on La Palma in the Canary Islands has stored volcanologists monitoring the volcano on their toes. Over the past week, numerous vents have opened on the volcano and the eruption has oscillated involving calmer lava flows and additional explosive lava fountains. Even although the eruption is however likely solid, authorities are beginning to allow persons again into places that really don’t look to be in the route of the continuing lava flows.

The principal lava flows stretch up to almost two miles (three.5 kilometers) to the west of the vent, with a additional lively northern stream and additional sluggish southern stream. The Planet graphic captured on September twenty five (earlier mentioned) exhibits the lava stream area as it paved about neighborhoods in close proximity to Cumbre Vieja. Due to the fact the eruption began, it has protected at least 640 acres (two.6 square kilometers) and dumped about 1 billion cubic feet (31 million cubic meters) of lava. That is roughly three hundred,000 tractor trailers worthy of of molten rock.

Annotated version of the September twenty five, 2021 Planet graphic of the lava flows on La Palma. The dashed traces mark the lava flows I could establish on the graphic and the course the flows are transferring. Credit history: Planet, used by permission and Erik Klemetti (annotations).

The Lava Flows

The lava flows demonstrate quite a few of the normal options you would anticipate from these basaltic lavas — lava channels, levees on just about every facet of the stream, arcuic strain ridges down the center of the stream and destinations wherever the lava spreads out as it hits flatter floor (lava deltas). If you can this graphic with these from the 2018 Kilauea eruption, you can see how similar they are, though the La Palma lava seems to be additional rubbly a’a than the runnier, ropey pahoehoe that dominated at Kilauea.

As it is with quite a few lava flows, one particular household can be completely ruined and buried even though its neighbor is just fine. Some can even be surrounded by lava flows on “islands” of unaffected land named kipukas. You can see a couple in the Planet graphic. They may well have been on places a bit greater than the surroundings or just got blessed. In other destinations, homes and roadways have been buried by up to forty-one hundred sixty feet (12-50 meters) of lava.

Additional Explosive Blasts

The additional explosive facet of this eruption has caused air journey disruptions for La Palma. The ash from lava fountains is becoming blown to the east of the island (see Landsat-eight graphic underneath), stranding plane and major persons to request boats to go away La Palma. The ash and sulfur dioxide emissions aren’t receiving blasted significant enough into the skies to possible lead to troubles outdoors the Canary Islands (though the sulfur dioxide has designed it to Europe) or have any lasting effects on local climate.

The darkish ash plume from the La Palma eruption, observed by Landsat-eight on September 26, 2021. Credit history: NASA/USGS.

The cones formed by the eruption continue to collapse and get rebuilt, which is normal for this Hawaiian-fashion eruption. These collapses can prevent or start lava flows or intensify some of the explosivity of the eruption. On the other hand, they are not the kind of detail that can direct to the tsunami that some persons are (wrongly) fearful about occurring.

It is however unclear just how prolonged this eruption will last, but INVOLCAN has documented that volcanic tremor, normally caused by magma transferring into the upper components of the volcano, has dropped significantly on September 27. No matter whether or not this usually means the eruption may well wane continues to be to be observed.

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