Looks are deceiving. The reduction of seismicity, the reduction of the tremor -noise made by volcanic material as it rises up the pipes to the surface-, and the low visible activity of the La Palma volcano during the last two days they seemed to indicate that the end of the eruptive process was near. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Palmero volcano still has a lot to say. This is how he explained it this Saturday Carmen Lopez, scientific spokesperson for the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca). “To talk about the end we have to appreciate a stable period with all the parameters at minimum levels,” said López after the Pevolca meeting.
The director of volcanic surveillance of the National Geographic Institute (IGN) stressed that to reach this point it is necessary that the emission levels of sulfur dioxide are “low or very low” and now they are high, which marks the presence of available magma to fuel the eruption.
Reactivation of the southern wash
Despite this apparent tranquility, the lava continues to advance 83 days after the emergency began and 77 days after the eruption began. On the morning of this Saturday, the south stream that runs towards the Camino La Majada in a southwesterly direction was reactivated, filling gaps between streams 3 and 11 and occupying a new surface in an area that has already been evacuated. The initial speed of this casting slowed down as it lost fluidity and gained in viscosity due to the material that it has been engulfing during its trajectory. The feeding of the flows 7, 8 and 10 continues to be produced by lava tubes, but in a lesser way than in previous days and without modifying the surface of the deltas. The eruptive activity stopped this Saturday on the northeast flank and there was little advance of the stream in the direction of Las Manchas. The lava tongues of the La Palma volcano that spilled in the past days in the Fronton area, are practically inactive.
Area affected by the La Palma volcano
The latest data available on the affected area is estimated at 1,146 hectares. The total area of the lava deltas or fajanas It is located on about 48.03 hectares and the maximum distance between exterior springs is 3,350 meters. All in all, it is estimated that the affected crop area reaches 350.39 hectares. Of these, 217.37 hectares correspond to banana plantations, 61.2 to vineyards and 26.72 to avocado trees.
The reduction in seismicity in the last 24 hours is clear. The number of earthquakes at depths greater than 20 kilometers remains low. This Saturday, there were only five earthquakes –two in Fuencaliente and three in Villa de Mazo– of these characteristics. Seismicity has been gradually reduced during the week, the figures have been reduced from the 377 that were detected on Tuesday to the 31 that occurred until 8:00 p.m. on Saturday. The strongest occurred at 01.23 hours with a magnitude of 3.4 mbLg and 25.8 kilometers
López considers that the reduction of earthquakes is “good news”, but stresses that we should not rely on this decrease because despite the earthquakes having decreased in recent days, a few days ago “something similar happened and then they were strong again” . The spokeswoman for the scientific committee stressed the importance of persistent periods of stability over time.
Less deformation of the terrain on La Palma
The deformation of the terrain, another of the parameters used to monitor the volcano, also partially reversed the inflation episode in the vicinity of Jedey (LP03 station) this Saturday and stability was shown in the rest of the network, with some slight deflation. Despite having lowered these parameters, sulfur dioxide levels in the plume continue to be high, although air quality is good in most of the island. In the southern area of the flows, accesses were restricted yesterday due to the high level of gases.
Weather conditions remain favorable Since the prevalence of east wind is expected on this bridge, with the possibility of the presence of haze, which will allow La Palma airport to operate normally. The entry of desert dust if it is going to worsen air quality, scientists expect this Sunday an upward trend in the records of particles smaller than 10 microns (PM10), mainly in the stations in the east of the island.
On the other hand, the number of people housed in hotels rose this Saturday to 553, five more than the previous day. Of these, 407 are in Fuencaliente, 71 in Los Llanos de Aridane and 75 in Breña Baja.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.