Another part of the main cone collapses and new lava flows cause more destruction
Last night, Saturday, the Cumbre Vieja volcano in La Palma exploded again and the north part of the cone collapsed releasing a large amount of lava and rocks the size of houses in several directions that has descended the slopes at high speed causing "tremendous destruction" in its wake, according to the first evaluations of IGN and Involcan technicians.
So far it has destroyed part of an industrial estate, electricity pylons, numerous plantations and some buildings. Fortunately, no-one has been hurt as the affected area is one that has been evacuated for days because it was earmarked as being in potential danger.
In spite of everything, those responsible for the scientific committee met in La Palma last night to assess the progress of the eruption and called for calm from the public because they said that they have fully monitored the phenomenon and nothing indicates that they cannot anticipate new possible hazards and make the precise safety decisions to avoid victims.
The committee explained that the mainstream, which has already formed a strip 1,200 metres wide in places, has lost strength in its advancement after pouring its lava into the sea, and that its other ‘tongue’ that forked off further south has stopped 150 metres from the beach of El Charcón.
However, this flow is growing in thickness, so it is not ruled out that it will end up reaching the sea, but isn’t making any progress at the moment. The flow that worries them the most is the one formed last night by the overflow of the north face, but, they added, that at the moment it seems that most of it is following the mainstream.
Video showing new lava flow
Up until yesterday afternoon, the volcano had destroyed 497 hectares of farms and infrastructure, buried almost 39 kilometres of roads and destroyed almost 1,300 buildings in its 20 days of strong activity.
Continued seismic activity:
The IGN have recorded a swarm of earthquakes on La Palma during the last 24 hours, the most prominent in the southwest of Villa de Mazo, of 4.1 magnitude at a depth of 39 kilometres, however the average intensity of the earthquakes is below 3 on the Richter Scale.
Ash cloud and airports:
Meanwhile, the ash cloud has headed south, according to the latest report from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) in Toulouse, France. The change of direction has freed the air space of Tenerife, whose two airports are operating normally. However, for safety reasons, the notice to airlines destined for Tenerife is maintained so that they can load extra fuel in case there are changes in the wind that could affect the island's airports.
In fact, all the airports in the Canary Islands are operating without incident and the initial forecast is that it will continue like this throughout the weekend. The La Palma airport has recovered its operations after two days of closure, and ash removal work continues in different areas of the airport now that runways are clear.