La Palma volcanic eruption of 2021

Article

October 28, 2021

The volcanic eruption of La Palma in 2021 began at 2:13 p.m. (UTC) on September 19 in the place of Cabeza de Vaca, near the town of El Paraíso in the municipality of El Paso, on the Spanish island of La Palma. [3] This is the first eruption on the island since the Teneguía in October 1971 and the first in the Canary Islands since the El Hierro submarine in 2011. [4] [5] [6] [7]

Background

Between October 7, 2017 and June 25, 2021, a total of eight seismic series, known as seismic swarms, with similar characteristics were recorded in the southern part of La Palma. [8] [9] A scientific study published in early 2021, [10] [11] that took into account the swarms that had existed until then and that used, among others, a novel technique to interpret the observations obtained over the years by radars located on different satellites, revealed certain anomalies in the Aridane valley that would suggest a possible "reactivation" of its subsoil from 2009 or 2010, [12] although the same study recognized that it is accepted that in approximately 80% of situations with this type of anomaly did not occur later volcanic eruptions. [13] At dawn on Saturday, September 11, 2021, a new low-intensity seismic swarm began in the south of the island. Until Sunday, there were 31 seismic movements, with magnitudes that ranged between 0.8 and 2 on the mbLg scale. [14] On Monday 13, 1,500 seismic movements were reached in the area of ​​the Cumbre Vieja natural park, in the municipalities of Fuencaliente, Mazo and El Paso, which led to the activation of the yellow alert (alert level 2 on a scale of 4 ) in the Special Plan for Civil Protection and Attention to Volcanic Risk Emergencies (Pevolca), by the Government of the Canary Islands. [15] [16] During Sunday, September 19, 327 earthquakes were registered, highlighting the 3.8 mbLg earthquake that occurred at 11:16 (local time), widely felt on the island and with a depth of 2 km. [17] Shortly after, one occurred of 3.1 mbLg. [18] From the beginning of the seismic activity, it was found that the deformation of the island due to the pressure that the magma exerts on the earth's crust had raised the area of ​​the possible eruption to the surroundings of the 15 centimeters. [19] Despite this situation, it was decided not to increase precautionary measures and it was only decided by the Cabildo de La Palma to begin the evacuation of at least 40 people with reduced mobility and part of the livestock present in the area. [6] [ 20]

Rash

September

September 19

After more than 25,000 small earthquakes that hit the island for eight days, at 3:13 p.m. (local time) the eruption began in the pine forest called Cabeza de Vaca, in Las Manchas, municipality of El Paso. [3] [21] The eruption initially had two fissures 200 meters apart and eight mouths. [22] Authorities such as the Civil Guard, which deployed more than 120 troops on the ground, estimated that the total number of evacuees could exceed 10,000 in anticipation of the course of the lava towards the coast. Several roads were also closed to traffic for prevention. [23]

September 20

During the course of the following sixteen hours, three lava flows were produced, reaching a height of six meters. [24] More than 5000 people were evacuated from the neighborhoods closest to the path of the lava flows, including hundreds of tourists. [25] At the end of the day, a ninth mouth was counted in the area of ​​the Tacande neighborhood. The lava flows were not very fluid, which facilitated evacuation; However, in their advance towards the ocean at approximately 700 meters per hour and at a temperature of 1075 ° C they had caused numerous

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