MADRID (AP) — A small Spanish island within the Atlantic Ocean is struggling days after a volcano erupted, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of individuals, and authorities are warning that extra risks from the explosion lie forward.
Here’s a take a look at the volcanic eruption on La Palma and its penalties:
WHERE DID THE VOLCANO ERUPT?
The eruption occurred Sunday afternoon on La Palma, certainly one of eight volcanic islands in Spain’s Canary Islands archipelago, which is strung alongside Africa’s northwestern coast. It was the second volcanic eruption in 50 years for the island, which has a inhabitants of 85,000.
A 4.2-magnitude quake was recorded earlier than the eruption. Big plumes of black-and-white smoke shot out from the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge after per week of hundreds of small earthquakes. Unstoppable rivers of molten lava, some as much as 6 meters (20 ft) excessive, are actually flowing downhill towards the ocean, engulfing all the things of their path.
Political Cartoons on World Leaders
The Canary Islands are a volcanic sizzling spot common with European vacationers as a result of their gentle year-round local weather. Mount Teide, on the close by island of Tenerife, is among the world’s tallest volcanoes and Spain’s highest mountain. On La Palma, individuals dwell principally from farming.
WHAT CAUSED THE ERUPTION?
Scientists had been intently monitoring a build-up of underground magma in La Palma for per week earlier than the eruption, detecting greater than 20,000 earthquakes — most too small to be felt. That is named an “earthquake swarm” and might point out an approaching eruption.
Three days earlier than the eruption, the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute reported that 11 million cubic meters (388 million cubic ft) of molten rock had been pushed into Cumbre Vieja.
After the 4.2-magnitude earthquake, two fissures belched brilliant pink magma into the air. The lava flowed in streams down the mountain slope.
HOW BAD HAS THE DAMAGE BEEN?
The shut scientific monitoring meant that authorities have been in a position to shortly evacuate individuals when the volcano erupted and no casualties have been reported.
However the injury to property, infrastructure and farmland has been appreciable. To this point, the eruption has destroyed round 190 homes and compelled the evacuation of 6,000 individuals. The molten rock has additionally entombed banana groves, vineyards and crops of avocado and papaya. Some irrigation networks have been misplaced, groundwater contaminated and roads blocked.
The rivers of lava are actually transferring towards the island’s extra populated coast and the Atlantic Ocean, the place they may trigger new issues.
WHAT ARE THE DANGERS NOW?
Authorities say residents face a bunch of risks within the coming days and weeks.
When the lava reaches the Atlantic Ocean, it may trigger explosions and produce clouds of poisonous fuel. Scientists monitoring the lava measured it at greater than 1,000 levels Celsius (greater than 1,800 levels Fahrenheit). Within the island’s final eruption in 1971, one particular person died after inhaling the fuel emitted as lava hit the water.
Earthquakes on the island have continued, rattling nervous residents. A brand new fissure opened late Monday after what the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute mentioned was a 3.8-magnitude quake, and commenced spewing extra lava. Scientists say extra new lava vents and cracks within the earth may emerge, endangering new areas.
The volcano has been producing between 8,000 and 10,500 tons of sulfur dioxide a day, the Volcanology Institute mentioned. Sulfur dioxide is smelly and irritates the pores and skin, eyes, nostril and throat. It could possibly additionally trigger acid rain and air air pollution.
The eruption has additionally produced volcanic ash, which may trigger respiratory issues. Authorities on La Palma instructed individuals within the vast areas the place the ash was falling to remain indoors with their doorways and home windows closed.
HOW LONG WILL THE ERUPTION GO ON?
Scientists say the lava flows on La Palma may final for weeks and even months. The final eruption on the island, in 1971, went on for simply over three weeks.
The final eruption on the entire Canary Islands occurred underwater off the coast of El Hierro island in 2011. It lasted 5 months.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.