The fajana on Los Guirres beach now occupies more than 17 hectares

La Palma’s Cumbre Vieja volcano stream remains stable Thanks to the lava culminated on Tuesday a road that runs out on the coast. This route has become the preferred route for the language of magmatic material, which has stopped looking for new routes to expand. The concern now shifts to air quality, since in Tazacorte, at some times of the day, the thresholds for sulfur dioxide (SO2) contemplated in the regulations have been exceeded. A situation that can extend to Los Llanos de Aridane, where rotten egg odor has been detected, and El Paso. The technical director of the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca), Rubén Fernández, has asked those who live in the area closest to the emission mouth to take extreme precautions, use FFP2 masks and avoid outdoor activities.

The State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) has reported that the trade winds that blow today in the Archipelago help disperse the gases emitted by the volcano towards the ocean, but these winds will begin to lose intensity throughout the day. Aemet’s spokesperson, Rubén del Campo, pointed out that the trade winds blow strong and at low levels, thus volcano emissions are “dispersed to the west and northwest”. This will contribute to “that there are no problems with air quality in populated areas, except in the areas closest to the volcano.” The meteorological conditions forecast for today will cause the cloud of ash and SO2 to affect mainly the west slope of La Palma, and will be unfavorable from the point of view of air quality, as explained by the director of the National Geographic Institute (IGN) in the Canary Islands, María José Blanco.

At eight o’clock in the morning yesterday, 500 micrograms of SO2 per cubic meter were detected in Tazacorte, although throughout the day it fell to 300, and in Los Llanos de Aridane the values ​​stood at 100, Blanco explained after the meeting from Pevolca. The data from these measurements coincide with an increase in the emissions of this gas from the volcanic cone, which have risen to 7,149 tons per day. With these figures, the La Palma volcano becomes the main source of SO2 emission in the world, above the most polluting industry on the planet, the metal extraction industry in the Russian city of Norilsk, which produces about 5,021 tons per day. But, contrary to what happens with Soviet factories, the volcano’s emissions are practically harmless, given the height at which they run.

The delta of magmatic material on the beach of Los Guirres that already occupies more than 17 hectares

The lava river runs above the old streams to its mouth on the coast of Tazacorte, on the Escondido beach, north of Los Guirres beach. Fernández pointed out that the arrival of the tongue to the sea has consolidated the channeling of the magmatic material, although there have been “overflows at various points and some finger has separated from the main axis.” Blanco pointed out that the lava flows towards the ocean “in a continuous flow, which falls in the form of a waterfall and has configured a delta at the base of the cliff, with a front that has reached a height of 24 meters in marine depth.” The volcanic fluid accumulated on the coast of La Palma has created a strip that occupies more than 17 hectares, with which in 24 hours it has almost doubled the size that it reached between Tuesday night, when the lava collided with the salt water, and Wednesday. This space is now equivalent to 17 soccer fields.

The team of scientists from the ship Ramón Margalef, dependent on the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO-CSIC), observed yesterday in the different measurements that the sea surface temperature in the collision zone of the lava with the water had an average of approximately 25 degrees, while a specific peak of 27 degrees was reached on Wednesday in an area near the coast. This represents an average variation of between one and two degrees with respect to the temperature detected before the arrival of the wash in the ocean, although the analysis has shown higher peaks. Oceanographers warn that a change of only 0.5 degrees can affect the life of the marine ecosystem, although, until now, since Ramón Margalef no dead fish have been observed in the vicinity of the exclusion zone.

Blanco assured that the marine plumes – columns of water vapor and gases that are produced by the thermal car of the lava with the sea water – are concentrated, for the moment, in the coastal area affected by the wash and have not moved towards the interior of the island, but “You have to pay attention to the winds”, to monitor possible changes of direction. The population of the neighborhoods closest to the collision zone –San Borondón, Marina Alta, Marina Baja and La Condesa– continues to be confined to avoid exposure to these toxic gases.

The La Palma volcano already spills lava into the ocean. AND

More smokes

During yesterday morning a fumarolic field was detected on the northwest flank of the volcanic cone. The IGN seismologist Itahiza Domínguez clarified that this does not indicate that a new emission mouth is being opened, but that the volcano “relieves” gases at that point, something common in this type of volcano. The thermometer remains stable, although in certain areas close to the cone it is of high frequency and the deformations also show a stable pattern. The seismicity remains in the same area of ​​previous days and at depths of more than ten kilometers, with an earthquake of magnitude 3.3 felt with intensity 2 as the maximum measurement, although more superficial movements have also been noted around the core of the eruption.

Domínguez reported that the day the lava emission was stopped, seismicity returned “like a swarm” to the area where the seismic crisis began on September 11. “We do not know exactly why it is occurring, but it is probably related to a readjustment of the magmatic system, which may be affecting the internal structure,” reveals the seismologist. This behavior is common in eruptive processes and a similar situation was already experienced during the Tagoro volcano crisis, in El Hierro. As long as the magma is “releasing pressure” through the Cumbre Vieja fissure, Domínguez points out, “there is no problem, but it is not easy to know if it can find another point to exit”. However, he stresses that if this were to happen “signals would be seen in the monitoring systems and, for now, there is nothing to indicate the possibility of a new fissure.”

From the Cumbre Vieja to the coast, according to the latest data collected by the satellites of the European Earth Observation Program, Copernicus, the lava has engulfed 855 buildings, including homes, public and industrial facilities and crops, and 126 others are partially affected. 186 people continue to be evacuated and remain in a hotel in Fuencaliente, where they are treated by the Red Cross. The authorities yesterday allowed access to homes that are outside the security perimeter, but only to carry out specific and justified tasks, such as feeding animals, and not to remove personal belongings.



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