Saturday, October 23

The mixture of the ash cloud from the volcano with the Saharan dust threatens to cause new confinements on La Palma



The Government of the Canary Islands last night decreed the evacuation of fifteen residents of the nuclei of Cruz Chica and the intersection of the roads of Los Campitos and Morro Cabrito as a precautionary measure due to the advance of the lava front that runs northwest of La Laguna. The reactivation of the Emergency Situation Plan – Level 2 occurred hours after the scientific community that studies the behavior of the Tajogaite volcano ruled out that the eruptive process that began on September 19 will end in the short or medium term. The 17,774 tons of sulfur dioxide that it is emitting per day is not an indicator that favors the cessation of activity.

María José Blanco, director of the National Geographic Institute, said in the morning press appearance that for To approach a situation of stoppage of the eruption, these levels would have to drop to 100 tons. He also stressed that two other parameters to take into account in improving the current scenario are associated with soil deformation and seismicity, but in both cases these variants remain stable, according to data collected in previous sessions. Currently, the land that is affected by the advance of the runoffs occupies 8% of the surface of the Isla Bonita.

Despite Blanco’s “stability” in terms of seismicity, at 3:33 p.m. yesterday, the IGN located an earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale in Mazo, some 36 kilometers deep. This is the most intense episode since the beginning of the seismic swarm prior to the Tajogaite eruption; the second largest earthquake was also detected in Villa de Mazo a week ago. Then the experts of the National Geographic Institute registered a movement of 4.3 on the Richter scale, 35 kilometers from the surface.

Although the air quality in the last 24 hours has been at normal thresholds, the Pevolca technical director, Miguel Ángel Morcuende, announced yesterday that “in the next few days there may be new confinements due to the arrival of a dense curtain of Saharan dust ». Above all, as of October 15 and 16, Friday and Saturday, coinciding with the entry of a dry continental air mass, the contact of the gases emitted and the particles that give rise to haze can cause respiratory problems.

Last night’s evacuation – there are currently 6,415 people evicted, of the 5,700 were helped in the first phase of the eruption, 700 on Tuesday and 15 more yesterday – turned La Laguna into a ghost neighborhood, a place from which more have emerged. 1,100 people that is similar to Todoque. The coladas are at the gates of one of the most popular neighborhood knots in Los Llanos de Aridane.

The north side of the volcano moves west and northwest at a slow speed, but threatening the last cluster of evacuated houses. Morcuende specified at noon yesterday about this language that there was still the possibility that it would “abort” its progress, that is, that it would not walk again. That front was subjected to extreme surveillance and it was not until 9:30 p.m. that the 15 residents of the three evicted points began to be removed.

This headland moves less than 200 meters from the coast of Tazacorte, but the arm that has grown towards the northwest, which was the one that crossed the Callejón de la Gata (Los Llanos de Aridane) diagonally a few days ago, had lost intensity during the morning and accelerated again in the evening.

The melt located to the south, which moves at about 50 meters per hour, is the one that accumulates the most energy and, therefore, its capacity for destruction is high. In some points the width reaches 1,770 meters, which means an increase of 250 meters with respect to the measurements of the previous days.

The Pevolca technical director focused an important part of his analysis of the day on the idea that La Palma is a safe island. “92% of its territory is not affected by the eruption,” Morcuende advanced while reminding journalists that “except for the Aridane Valley, in the rest of La Palma life passes normally.” Along the same lines, he indicated that “there is no phenomenon that supports that this island may have an undesirable situation at any given time in terms of its geological stability.”

In his speech, always in a positive key, he winked at the Palma fishermen to defend that “the fish has the same quality as before the eruption took place.”

The data provided by the Copernicus satellite indicate that the Tajogaite already affects 1,541 houses, of which 1,408 have been destroyed and 83 have damages of varying degrees.

Aerial “normality”

Another of the points of interest of yesterday’s session was concentrated in the Mazo airport. The facilities managed by Aena were operational all day, although the rotations accumulated delays. The greatest difficulties are seen when gusts of wind from the west push the ash clouds to the east. This circumstance did not occur throughout the day on Wednesday and in the next few hours we will have to wait to know how the suspended dust that approaches the Archipelago from the African continent evolves.

The palmero aerodrome scheduled 36 movements yesterday –24 with Tenerife North, four with Gran Canaria, two with Madrid, two with Berlin and two with Frankfurt–, of which the connections with the Peninsula (2) and Germany (4) had to be canceled. On the problems generated by the ashes from the Tajogaite volcano (the facilities were out of service from September 24 to 25 and October 8 to 9), the Official College of Commercial Aviation (Copac) published in the last hours a statement that endorses the priority of the pilots not to fly for safety measures the dates in which the concentration of volcanic material is high.

The closest wash to the coast of Tazacorte is at that distance or even less. As of mid-afternoon yesterday, he continued to threaten several buildings in La Laguna.

The note reflects that flying over an area that is affected by this volcanic crisis poses a risk to the crew and passengers. “They can seriously damage critical parts of the plane,” says Copac based on a schedule that forces them to know at all times the height and characteristics of the ash cloud, as well as the direction of the wind and other adverse meteorological phenomena such as the presence of Saharan land that is expected to envelop the archipelago in the next few hours.

The Cabildo de La Palma yesterday authorized hours of irrigation and work to cut fruit on farms in El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridane and Tazacorte that were outside the risk areas. Work on farms continues to be intense. In the images, an operator is seen carrying a pineapple of bananas and an avocado plantation devastated by the effects of the eruption.

The sulfur dioxide cloud released by the volcano has reached a height of three thousand meters, although yesterday it did not excessively disrupt air operations with La Palma.


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