The volcano of La Palma accumulates in its interior thermal energy equivalent to that produced by 4,000 atomic bombs, similar to the one launched by the US on the Japanese city of Hiroshima at the end of World War II, whose explosion generated a heat wave of more than 4,000 ° C in a radius of approximately 4.5 kilometers. It is calculated that There are 100 million cubic meters of lava at a temperature of 1,200 degrees Celsius and 1,700 kilograms per cubic meter of stone density. The heat that the volcanic eruption gives off is equal to what the entire population of the pretty island would consume in 200 years with electricity.
The company HDMeteo, which develops the Cabildo de La Palma meteorological portal, provides these data as a demonstration of the high geothermal capacity that houses the Palmero volcano. The magnitude of volcanic eruptions is measured on the scale of the Volcanic Explosivity Index with values between 0 and 8; In the case of this eruption, the estimated index so far is 2, but also a characteristic of the eruptions is the emission of heat and, in the case of Cumbre Vieja, the geothermal accumulation found inside is being determined, energy that It will remain in the area for a long time after the eruption ends, which is still in the explosive phase.
The advance of the southern wash threatens homes and the Las Manchas cemetery
More earthquakes, more lava flows and more sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere reflect five weeks after the La Palma volcano, far from ending, it is still in full activity and expelling the enormous magma that runs through the depths of the beautiful island. And faced with this scenario, the palm trees are with their hearts in their fists because, slowly but surely, the destruction of crops and buildings is increasing by the minute. Both the National Geographic Institute (IGN) and the Canary Islands Volcanological Institute (Involcan) certify that the eruption is in full effusive phase with alternating intense explosive episodes and there are four eruptive mouths, although they have become nine emission centers. The lava flows are also listed, which now number ten after the irruption of a new magma flow detected to the south and which once again threatens the Las Manchas area.
Villa de Mazo and the areas surrounding the volcanic eruption woke up this Sunday with no less than 135 earthquakes detected between dawn and morning. The intensity of the seismic movements is reflected by the fact that in 48 hours – from October 22 to 24 – the IGN registered 307 earthquakes with a maximum of 4.9 degrees on Saturday. On Sunday most of the earthquakes were detected at 12 kilometers deep, while nine of the 135 were recorded at 30 kilometers. According to the experts who monitor the volcano, it has increased the emission of pyroclasts in the secondary cone of the eruption, coinciding precisely with the increase in volcanic tremor and the highest seismicity since Sunday night at a depth of 10-15 kilometers. On the afternoon of this Sunday a new earthquake of four degrees was felt, also of medium depth.
The increase in earthquakes causes new emission sources and more lava overflows
This strong increase in seismicity has caused more lava flow and a stream that moves south, in the already evacuated area of Las Manchas, threatening the area of Corazoncillo, a photovoltaic plant and the cemetery. The Pevolca technicians have detected that this new laundry has slowed down due to the amount of ash, although it is very close to this neighborhood. Also late in the afternoon the opening of a new source was verified, which has led to new important spills of lava and overflows from other eruptive sources.
The wash whose front stopped in the neighborhood of La Laguna continues to receive input in its back part, so sooner or later it will end up moving towards the sea. To that has been added another cause for concern: the pouring that comes from the mouth that until now had only been emitting pyroclasts and that is the one that advances towards the south at about 50 meters per hour. The hope of the crisis cabinet is that this wash will end up joining a previous one and cause no damage, only materials, since that area was one of the first evacuated. In addition, it is trusted that the abundant accumulation of ash in that area will slow down and contribute greater viscosity to that laundry.
There are currently four broadcast centers active that contribute load to the wastes, and throughout the eruptive process there have been up to nine, as explained this Sunday by the technical director of Pevolca, Miguel Ángel Morcuende, some of which have been activated and closed. Likewise, he listed up to ten the flows that have been emanating from the volcano, the tenth being the new one that emerged in the south direction. The one that continues to threaten the La Laguna neighborhood is laundry number eight, according to the map shown by the director of Pevolca in his daily appearance before the media.
The Copernicus satellite updated this Sunday the area affected by the eruptive process, which is estimated at 852.27 hectares, 3.31 hectares more than the previous day, and the maximum width between the end points of the castings is maintained at approximately 2,900 meters. The increase in hectares responds to the lava spill in the south and to the gaps that have been filled in the intermediate areas where the flows that have overflowed from the eruptive mouths feed the previous flows and the surface that had been left out of the occupation of lava.
The eruption takes away 2,270 buildings and 260 hectares of agricultural crops
According to the latest Copernicus data regarding the number of buildings destroyed or damaged, it is estimated that the eruptive process has affected approximately a total of 2,270 buildings, of which 2,143 are destroyed and 127 damaged or at risk. Morcuende pointed out that it is the scan made by the satellite without distinguishing whether they are homes, tool rooms, industries or other types of buildings. In this sense, according to the data managed by the Pevolca steering committee, with data from the cadastre updated 72 hours ago, the houses destroyed are little more than a thousand, apart from implement rooms, hotel or leisure premises and buildings of other uses that have been falling with the passage of lava
In relation to crops, the total of affected hectares is around 260 hectares, almost 14 more than in the previous record. Of these, 145.61 correspond to banana plantations, 53.54 vineyards and 22.89 avocado trees.
The impact of the volcano on the population continues to increase. Regarding evacuated neighbors, there are 439 people (10 more than the previous day) staying in hotel complexes –376 at the Hotel de Fuencaliente and 63 at the Hotel de Los Llanos de Aridane–. In addition, there are 46 dependent people in social health centers on the island, as explained by the technical director of Pevolca.
The air quality in the last hours has been fluctuating depending on the wind and the thermal inversion that during the last days has been in the area of the Aridane Valley and surrounding areas. The last measurement of sulfur dioxide emission made was 3,200 tons and the height of the ash cloud was 3.2 kilometers. The forecast for the next few hours is that the gas cloud will head towards the southwest, which favors the operation of the La Palma airport and those of the rest of the islands, so the air connections will remain open and it will be the airlines that will decide at all times whether to fly or not, as has happened since the start of the eruption.
One of the added problems that arose after the release of the Saharan dust are the rains that reached the pretty island during the weekend and that can affect the accumulation of ash and that if they fall with force the collision with the lava produces emission of gases . In this sense, “weak, scarce” rains are expected in the north and east of La Palma, without ruling out on the west side.
Also, lhe Pevolca and IGN technicians confirm the “slow trend” of deflation of the terrain at points far from the eruptive center, while the deformation near the cone is stable, although it is a changing situation that can be modified at any time.
307. Seismic swarm
According to data from the National Geographic Institute (IGN) between October 22 and 24 there were 307 earthquakes, the strongest being on Saturday, 4.9 degrees.
852. Hectares affected
The Copernicus satellite data reflects until this Sunday an affection for lava flows of 852.2 hectares of land due to the appearance of new flows.
2,270. Destroyed buildings
The total number of buildings affected by the lava are 2,270, of which 2,143 are totally destroyed and 127 are damaged or at serious risk of being so.
260. Crops destroyed
The total number of hectares of crops affected is around 260, almost 14 more than in the previous record. Of these, 145.61 correspond to banana plantations.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.