Danger due to the emission of toxic gases on the Spanish island of La Palma. Lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano in the Canary Islands has already reached the Atlantic Ocean. He did so late on Tuesday, raising fears of the presence of toxic gases.
Large columns of water vapor have been formed by the thermal shock of the lava with the sea. Columns of gases that can be toxic to the eyes, lungs and skin. The lava has entered through an area of cliffs on the coast of Tazacorte and has been falling slowly. The hot stones fell into the sea.
The lava river came with a speed of between 100 and 200 meters per hour. According to the Canary Islands Volcanological Institute, the wash cut the coastal road, one of the last barriers on its way to the water. Before, it razed an area of banana trees, burning greenhouses and fertilizers and temporarily creating a toxic cloud.
The toxic cloud has not caused damage or danger to people, since it has remained within the exclusion zone (it only forced those who were in the vicinity with authorization to remove belongings and perishable products to evacuate) and emanated from the area of banana trees in which there was ammonia and boron trichloride, among other components.
The Emergency Plan for the Spanish archipelago of the Canary Islands (Pevolca) does not rule out that this episode could be repeated, depending on the material that the lava burns.
Lhe ash and lava jets at some points reached 500 meters high. The gigantic streams have spread over almost 200 hectares of land, destroying some 570 buildings. and threaten another 1,600 constructions.
Residents of several coastal towns are confined by fear of fumes. Some 6,500 people have already been evacuated from their homes since the volcano woke up.
At the moment, the lava emission is much greater than that launched over the past week and, above all, much more fluid, in an eruption of the Hawaiian or effusive type, according to the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan).
After the volcano reactivated yesterday after being practically inactive for about ten hours, the lava followed the previous flows – almost stopped – with a significantly widened front and crossed the center of the town of Todoque.
There, the obstacle on the mountain of Todoque has been on his way and he is passing it on the side.
It is precisely because of the “spillway” where the eruption was reactivated yesterday, through which the lava is pouring out and, although there is still strombolian activity in the main crater, at this time the Hawaiian phase predominates and experts do not rule out that they can occur again. sharp explosions.
In addition, on this ninth day of the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, the emission of ash has increased and the height of the ash cloud now reaches 7,000 meters, which forced the issuance of a new VONA notice for civil aviation (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation), as well as to maintain vigilance in case air traffic may be affected, in addition to La Palma, in other Canary Islands such as La Gomera and Tenerife.
According to experts, the estimated volume, through thermographic measurements, of the cone generated so far is 10 million cubic meters and its morphology is constantly changing, with successive growth and reconfiguration processes.
Other data to take into account are the sulfur dioxide emission rate, which registered on Monday “a marked decrease”, around 567 tons per day, and the seismicity, in the last hours located at a depth of about 10 kilometers , in addition to some superficial tremors in the vicinity of the cone.
Soil deformations continue to stabilize in the horizontal components and there has been a decrease in the vertical.
The island has been declared a catatrophic zone
The damage caused by the volcano is increasing: so far, the lava has covered 258 hectares and affected 686 buildings, of which 589 are destroyed, according to the latest count of the European Earth observation system Copernicus, while the number people evacuated from their homes stands at about 6,000.
Faced with this situation, the Spanish Government has declared La Palma a catastrophic area and has approved aid worth 10.5 million euros (about 12.2 million dollars at the current exchange rate), of which 5.5 million euros (6 , 4 million dollars) will go to the purchase of 107 homes and the rest to the acquisition of basic necessities, such as refrigerators or kitchens, among others, through a “card-purse” procedure.
This only constitutes the first phase of the aid, since there will be a second in which, when the eruption ceases, a “La Palma Reconstruction Plan” will be carried out, which will consist of repairing and restoring damage to homes, hydraulic road infrastructures, livestock farms, crops, forest areas and public facilities, as well as the promotion of tourism and industrial revitalization