Sunday, December 5

La Palma volcano: what are the next days expected to be like?

  • Jose Mangas Viñuela
  • The Conversation*

Members of the Civil Guard in the Canary Islands observe the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano.

Image source, Getty Images

This Monday we observed that the La Palma volcano had had a stop in its eruptive activity, in which it stopped emitting lava. However, this can change again at any time.

In fact, within minutes of this happening, we were again seeing an eruptive plume of water vapor and many black pyroclasts. Thus we corroborate that the evolution of the activity of the volcano, whose lava has already reached the ocean, is highly changing over time.

Will there be new explosions?

To understand the eruption process of a volcano we can compare it to a bottle of champagne. When the bottle is closed we do not see the gas. In the same way, when magma is stagnant about ten or fifteen kilometers deep, it is a silicate liquid substance and hot to more than 1,200 degrees with dissolved gases or volatiles (water and various compounds of carbon, sulfur, chlorine, fluorine , among others), more crystals.

That is to say, as with the bottle, there is gas but at this moment they could not be seen. This happens in the magmatic chamber below the island of La Palma, where there is sufficient lithostatic pressure and no bubbles are formed (magmatic vesiculation).

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