The new mouth of the La Palma volcano, which emerged last Friday about 300 meters southeast of the main cone, maintained on Saturday a minor activity than the one it had at the time of its reactivation and continues to expel only ashes. This was confirmed this Saturday by scientists who do not consider it likely that this new eruptive point will emit magma and foresee that, in principle, its activity is based on creating an ash column, which already reaches the 4,500 meters of altitude.
The scientific spokesperson for the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca), María José Blanco, did not rule out that new eruptive points may occur in the La Palma volcano and referred to the fact that bad weather conditions will continue between 24 and 36 hours. The ash cloud and sulfur dioxide moved towards the north and northeast of the island, causing the ash fall on La Palma airport, affecting their activity. Due to this, despite the fact that AENA kept the airport operational, the companies made the decision to suspend the 34 operations that had been scheduled with the island, considering that the security conditions necessary to fly were not met. Upon cancellation of all inter-island connections with Binter and Canaryfly, as well as flights with Madrid and Barcelona and other destinations, the sea route was the only alternative on Saturday to access La Palma.
Blanco added that eIt is probable that the ash cloud could also affect the airspace comprised in La Gomera and the north of Tenerife, as it will be exacerbated by the haze that will cloud the sky over the Archipelago this weekend. But at least on Saturday these circumstances had no impact on the airports of these two islands that operated with total normality, as confirmed by AENA sources.
The two inter-island airlines announced this Saturday that the stoppage of operations will continue until conditions improve and allow flights to ensure the safety of passengers and crew. Both companies responded through the usual channels to requests for changes or refunds from those affected and recommend that their customers check the updated status of each flight in the official media.
Due to its lower activity, the new mouth that emerged before 8:00 p.m. last Friday, It did not affect this Saturday the removal of belongings that the neighbors continue to carry outs from evacuated areas. As pointed out by Rubén Fernández, technical director of Pevolca, at the moment no more evacuations are planned, since the new eruptive point has not affected the irrigation south of the original wash either. So the number of people who have had to leave their homes remains above 7,000, of which just over 300 remain sheltered in the Fuencaliente Hotel, while the rest have moved to a second residence or to the homes of family or friends.
However, Fernández warned that everything will depend on whether there were any “very unfavorable” developments in some areas. In this regard, he commented that If in any case the air quality worsens to levels that could be dangerous for the population, the confinement will be ordered in risk environments. In this way, the recommendation to the residents of the affected areas is that they leave their homes as little as possible, especially those who have respiratory problems, children and pregnant women, and that when they do so it is by using a FFP2 mask.
Regarding the streams that are located south of the La Laguna mountain, the closest to it has been channeled into a small trough and it continues its march at a much slower speed and is already about 400 meters from the sea. Further north, where a finger has been detached from the wash attached to the Montaña de La Laguna, the lava continues its advance at a slow pace and has already engulfed the local soccer field.
“This whole environment is evacuated, so the physical integrity of any person is not at risk”Added Fernández, who indicated that this is right now the most active area in terms of the advance of lava flows. Scientists have also been able to confirm that the accumulated horizontal deformation has been reversed in the area closest to the eruptive center.
The earth does not rest and continues to tremble on La Palma. At 7:07 a.m. on Saturday, the National Geographic Institute (IGN) located a earthquake with a magnitude of 4.5, which finally turned out to be two earthquakes in a row, with only two seconds of difference, of magnitude 4.3 and 4.5, located at depths of 37 and 34 kilometers. Therefore, the earthquake that occurred last morning of magnitude 4.6 (mbLg) and intensity III-IV continues to be the one with the highest recorded value since this eruptive process began on La Palma.
Scientists claim that it is most likely that in the next few days there will be earthquakes above 4.5 degrees, although they will take place at great depth, above 30 kilometers, but they will continue to be felt by the population.
The eruption of the volcano on La Palma, which today celebrates its fourth week since its beginning on September 19, has already affected 742 hectares of land, with a maximum width of the wash of 2,350 meters.
This natural disaster it has totally destroyed 1,826 buildings and another 97 are in danger disappear or have been partially destroyed. So the volcano has already affected 1,923 buildings on the island, according to the latest Copernicus data. Regarding the Cadastre data, there would be a total of 1,058 affected properties, of which 854 are for residential use.
The Pevolca Scientific Committee report indicates that the fissure eruption continues but with a predominance of the effusive phase, which is evidenced by higher lava flow emissions and less ash emission. The Volcanic Explosivity Index has so far remained at 2, on a scale from 0 to 8.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.