Thursday, December 9

Lava from the Tajogaite volcano, on La Palma, rushes into the ocean and creates clouds of noxious gas

The lava expelled by the Tajogaite volcano is already in the sea. The first castings contacted the ocean at eleven o’clock at night after a vertiginous descent towards the coast of Tazacorte that ended north of Los Guirres, specifically, in the Perdido Beach. The meeting point between the fire and the saltpeter occurred about two kilometers from the area in which three hundred people from San Borondón, Marina Alta, Marina Baja and La Condesa were confined. Juan Miguel Rodríguez, mayor of the Bagañete municipality, ratified the fusion between land and sea and, above all, that the neighbors “were fine”.

Lava rushes from a cliff into the ocean, creating clouds of noxious gas. Jorge Dávila / Ramón Pérez

Magmatic material it fell into the sea from the edge of a hundred meter high cliff. The darkness prevented observing the moment in which columns of vapor were formed – highly toxic when they come into contact with eyes and skin – that were recorded by the scientists of the oceanographic Ramón Margalef: the Spanish Institute of Oceanography issued a first statement in which he already pointed out that the lava flows had generated a deposit on the seabed of a height greater than 50 meters. The authorities have established a security perimeter of more than 2.5 kilometers to prevent possible respiratory problems for people who come into contact with the volcano.

Lava rushes from a cliff into the ocean, creating clouds of noxious gas. Jorge Dávila / Ramón Pérez

Before this event occurred, the magma had advanced without pause throughout the day. In the morning it generated a toxic cloud in Los Llanos de Aridane that did not happen anymore. The worst came as soon as it got dark. The lava spring surpassed the coastal highway and cut off the towns of Puerto de Naos, El Remo, La Bombilla and Los Guirres. The almost 2,500 people who reside in those points had been evicted at the beginning of this eruptive crisis.

Lava rushes from a cliff into the ocean, creating clouds of noxious gas. Jorge Dávila / Ramón Pérez

Four “ghost” cores

On September 19, the Civil Guard took out the residents of the nuclei to which the head of the coladas arrived last night. The Cabildo, which developed the evacuation plan long before the seismic swarms of the 11th warned of an imminent danger, has also planned the use of the neighborhood roads that will link Puerto de Naos, El Remo, La Bombilla and Los Guirres once this crisis is overcome.

Lava rushes from a cliff into the ocean, creating clouds of noxious gas. Jorge Dávila / Ramón Pérez

The Insular Council of Infrastructures adapted two municipal tracks for use as alternative routes that connect the coast of the Aridane Valley. With a one-way traffic, they are reached from the south of the island. Access to the coast will be through the road that connects the Plaza Bonita and the Tazacorte Tennis Club, but it will exit through the one that connects the restaurant La Mariposa and the Camino Marta.

Lava rushes from a cliff into the ocean, creating clouds of noxious gas. Jorge Dávila / Ramón Pérez

To leave the coast of the Valley, the junction of the LP-213 (Todoque-Puerto de Naos highway), in Las Norias, and the La Majada road will be used, to continue along the Camino Real de Todoque and Camino Marta until the intersection with the LP-211 (Las Manchas-Todoque). Access to the coast will be established by the Camino Manchas de Abajo, which starts at the intersection with the LP-211 highway (Las Manchas – Todoque), running along the Camino El Tablao, Camino Los Picachos up to the LP-213 along the path of the Hoyo del Verdugo, in the area of ​​the Tazacorte Tennis Club.

A Hawaiian “setting”

The Tajogaite volcano took, after reactivated last Monday afternoon, the appearance of a Hawaiian volcanic structure in its destructive advance towards the coast of Tazacorte. The expulsion by the leak that is located below the main cone of a huge amount of yellowish magma, much more fluid than in previous days, transformed the early morning of Tuesday to the Rajada Mountain in the typical images that have been shown to us on television of the eruptions that occur in the Pacific islands: incandescent rivers that move along the ground and without great shocks: slow, but implacable.

The color degradation that the magma that escapes from the bowels of the Tajogaite has undergone – from the intense red of the first moments of the eruption, to the orange that dominated many evenings and to this yellow – is associated with the depth from which the magmatic material flows , lava that yesterday continued to ruthlessly devastate agricultural areas and homes.

In the last hours, for example, this flood washed away the Casa de los Cocq (El Paraíso), the building that survived the catastrophe isolated between two great lava tongues. In the absence of today’s report being made official, the fire monster has buried 258 hectares, 686 buildings and 22 kilometers of roads.

The magma that erupted yesterday from the Tajogaite spillway reached the surface in amounts higher than the previous days and in a less viscous liquid state. Its low-lying jet output (never exceeding 150 meters) is what generates the Hawaiian effect. Thermographic measurements noted by the scientists yielded temperatures ranging between 1,000 and 1,030 degrees Celsius. Due to the conditions that are occurring in the lava fields, some with a width that exceed 500 meters, it is increasingly difficult to collect the samples due to their incandescence, the heat they give off and their size.

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This has been the arrival of the lava from the La Palma volcano to the sea

“These rivers of lava have traced the volcanic structures that originated before the break on Monday and have even widened the flow,” says Stavros Meletlidis, a geologist attached to the National Geographical Institute (IGN), in reference to the evolution of a crisis that yesterday morning the occasional emergency overflowed, solved on the fly without the need for hospital admissions.

One of these incidents occurred as soon as the lava invaded some greenhouses in the El Pampillo neighborhood, in Los Llanos de Aridane, and was mixed with fertilizer products (made with ammonia and boron trichloride). The burning of plastics and fertilizers created a gigantic toxic cloud that forced the resources of the Chemical Risks Unit of the UME to activate.

Components of the Military Emergency Unit participated in the evacuation of the neighbors who were at risk, after they were authorized to return home to collect their belongings (15 minutes) before the imminent arrival of the avalanche.

Miguel Ángel Morcuende, technical director of the Canary Islands Emergency Plan (Pevolca), said that this cloud had diluted “without causing any risk” in the people who were in the exclusion zone.

Despite the fact that the incident in El Pampillo was resolved in the early hours of the afternoon, the Cabildo de La Palma issued a statement through social networks in which it was recommended to those affected not to leave their homes and that, only in the case of having to do it, use of protective masks.

In El Paraíso, another of the perimeters engulfed by lava, it is not known how many houses have been left standing. The silence is devastating on a hill from which you can see some streams that exceed 50 meters in length. Everything seems like a sticker of the San Juan eruption (1949), a precedent that expanded the municipality of Tazacorte by 10% – it gained 1.5 square kilometers from the sea – in favor of a sector that today is in the spotlight of the volcano. . “Banana trees are eaten like chewing gum”, Alfredo Gutiérrez specified with tears in his eyes when he saw the degree of destruction of a laundry that was going at full speed in the direction of Los Guirres.

It could be “rearming”

Tajogaite could be re-feeding from a deeper lava reservoir, as happened with the underwater volcano of El Hierro, points out Carmen López, head of volcanic alert at the National Geographic Institute. The expert believes that the deep seismicity located in the Fuencaliente area, with earthquakes of magnitudes between 3.3 and 3.4 and between 11 and 145 kilometers deep, indicate a readjustment of the reservoir in the crust as the magma comes out in the form of lava. , ash and pyroclasts. The IGN considers the possibility that the most superficial reservoir is being fed back and that underneath it there may be a deeper one.

The National Geographic Institute yesterday located six earthquakes in the area affected by the Tajogaite volcanic reactivation with a maximum recorded magnitude of 2.9 (mbLg) in a seismic movement at a depth of 10 kilometers. The mean amplitude of the volcanic tremor remained at very low values ​​for this eruption until 3:00 p.m. UTC on Monday (5:00 p.m. peninsular time, 4:00 p.m. Canary Islands time) and practically zero between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. (7:00 p.m. peninsular time, 6:00 p.m. Canary Islands time).

But from that moment it began to increase considerably, reaching a range of average values ​​around 7:00 p.m. and since then it has remained stable. The island’s network of permanent GNSS stations shows stability in deformations.

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