LA PALMA: How long will eruptions last? Are the other islands affected?
Having had a chance to analyse data from yesterdays eruption on La Palma, the IGN and INVOLCAN are predicting that the eruptions on the island could last for between 6 to 8 weeks and that there could be up to 20 million cubic metres of magma to be admitted. However, they don’t believe there will be any further eruption points, and the main eruption was only 300 metres from where they forecast.
The lava flows, that have been descending the slopes of the municipality of El Paso in the Cabeza de Vaca area, are advancing at approximately 700 metres per hour, and thermal images have determined that they have a temperature of 1,075 degrees Celsius.
The volcano has continued to emit volcanic material during the night, and the concern from the President of The Canary Islands, Angel Victor Torres, is the damage it will cause to properties, both residential and commercial, as these flows head towards the sea.
Torres is already in La Palma where he has been joined by the Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sanchez, who cancelled his scheduled trip to New York to come to La Palma instead, and assured that there will be full state support for those who lose possessions due as a result of the eruption. Currently, there have not been any casualties, although several homes have been swallowed up and burnt down by the lava flows.
The authorities are encouraging people to stay calm as the worst part, the initial eruption releasing the pressure of gases and molten lava, has taken place. They assure there is not going to be any mega-tsunami or the island splitting in two, as this is, in geological terms, a small eruption and nowhere even close to being powerful enough for that to happen.
They are also pleased to say that La Palma airport is open and operational, although it isn’t recommended to visit at the moment, and only the airspace directly above the eruption is a no-fly zone.
None of the other islands are affected directly by the eruption on La Palma, whether by seismic activity, after effects, or advice not to travel to them. All airports on all the other islands are operating as usual and receiving tourists and there is absolutely no danger of visiting or any reason why any flights or holidays be rescheduled or cancelled. In fact, only one flight from Tenerife North airport to La Palma was affected yesterday during the initial eruption when it returned to Tenerife.
La Palma falls into the Province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife with La Gomera and El Hierro forming the western islands of the archipelago, and subsequently, emergency service vehicles and personnel have been deployed from these islands, where many have family members on the island.
In total, 5,000 people including 500 tourists on the island, have been evacuated to sports halls and municipal buildings in Santa Cruz de La Palma, which is on the other side of the island to where the eruption is.