The sun has not risen today in the Aridane Valley. The ash from the La Palma volcano floods the west face of the island in such a way that it makes it difficult for residents to see and flooded roads, homes and shops like never before in these 43 days of eruption. Thus, particles smaller than 10 microns (PM10) have reached very high values for much of Sunday and this morning, “reaching extremely unfavorable air quality levels, which are still maintained,” as explained this Monday by the spokesperson for the scientific committee of the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca), Carmen López.
The “considerable volume” of ash has covered the entire west and northwest of the island, accompanied by few audible explosions, which the scientific committee attributes to a probable process of “intense degassing”. In spite of everything, there is good news when it comes to what the volcano expels: this has been the sixth consecutive day of decrease in sulfur dioxide, “which is an important variable” in predicting the end of the eruption. The figure, estimated at 4,990 tons per day, continues to be found, yes, “in high magnitudes”.
And meanwhile, the volcanic cone continues to emit lava. A lot. It does so from the northwest flank of the main cone. The laundry continues with the same directions of the last days. During the night, the flow has created a new stream, number 11, which moves west after flanking the Cogote mountain to the north and approaches the LP-211 highway, which connects Todoque with Las Manchas. This is a critical pathway for access by security forces, scientists, and neighbors.
“We already have the laundry practically on the road, it is 200 meters away and there is a clear possibility that this road will blind us,” López explained, something that will happen “shortly”. This circumstance would leave only one access road to Puerto Naos. This would suppose an added difficulty for the irrigation works and the construction of the desalination plant ”.
In total, the volcano has destroyed 4.2 new hectares in the last 24 hours, leaving the total bill at 967.85 hectares. On this path, 2,710 constructions have been carried away, of which 2,574 are razed.
Deep seismicity falls
The earthquakes continue, but they are becoming more superficial. The seismicity has been reduced in deeper levels, and now it is located, mainly, between 10 and 15 kilometers, an area in which “there has been a rebound”, explained the technical director of Pevolca, Miguel Ángel Morcuende. In the eruption that occurred 10 years ago in El Hierro, the reduction in deep seismicity was the prelude to the end of the process.
Since Sunday, 136 earthquakes have been located in the area affected by the volcanic reactivation. Of these earthquakes, 10 have been felt by the population, and a maximum intensity of IV has been reached in the earthquake that occurred at 5:52 p.m. this Sunday, with a magnitude of 5 at 38 kilometers deep. In addition, six earthquakes have been located at depths around 30 kilometers, while the rest have been located at a shallower depth, around 12 kilometers. Intensity measures how citizens and infrastructures perceive each movement. The scale in this case goes from I to XII, and an IV is moderate: it can be seen inside buildings, it is noticeable in doors and windows and the parked cars shake. The magnitude, meanwhile, measures the strength of the earthquake, regardless of how it feels on the surface.
The Ministry of the Interior and the Government Delegation have activated this Monday the telematic system that from this Tuesday will allow those affected to apply online for the aid authorized by the Government for the economic and social reconstruction of the island. The person in charge of carrying out this announcement has been the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, who this Monday visited La Palma. Here, it has explained that the victims can submit applications online through the electronic office available at the web from the Department.
Grande-Marlaska has visited the civil protection device deployed on the island, accompanied by the Government delegate in the Canary Islands, Anselmo Pestana; the undersecretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Isabel Goicoechea, and the general director of Civil Protection and Emergencies, Leonardo Marcos. “We want to make it easier for the victims to manage applications to speed up the processing process and speed up the receipt of aid as much as possible,” explained the minister.
“We said it six weeks ago and we repeat it now: we are not going to leave anyone behind. The emergency on La Palma will not end with the extinction of the volcano, but when the palm trees affected by the eruption recover their life before September 19 ”, he added.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.