Cumbre Vieja eruption (2021)

Article

October 17, 2021

The Cumbre Vieja eruption is the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, located on the island of La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain), which began on September 19, 2021 at 15:12 local time. As a result of the eruption, more than 1,000 buildings were destroyed and 6,000 people were evacuated; it is planned to increase this number to 10,000.

Background

La Palma is a volcanic island on which the 25 km long Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge is located, which has erupted more than once in the past (in 1470, 1585, 1646, 1677, 1712, 1949 and 1971). The last eruption, which occurred in 1971, claimed the life of a photographer who came too close to the lava and suffocated from the vapors. Before the eruption of Cumbre Vieja in 2021, the Tagoro volcano erupted in Spain in 2011-2012.

Eruption

From September 9, seismic activity began to be recorded on the island. The number of aftershocks reached 31 by September 12. On Monday, September 13, on the island of La Palma, 1,500 tremors occurred, the authorities declared a yellow level of danger, and warnings were sounded about the possible start of volcanic activity. Livestock and at least 40 people were evacuated due to warnings of possible activity even before the eruption began. The eruption was preceded by up to 22,000 tremors a few days before the start of the eruption, the strongest of which was a magnitude of 4.2. Eruptions on the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge began on September 19, 2021 at 15:12 local time. During the next 16 hours, there were 8 lava outbursts. Lava flows began to move towards the coast at a speed of 700 meters per hour, later the speed dropped to 200. The height of the lava flow reached 15 meters. On the night of September 29, lava reached the ocean and formed a ledge. On September 30, frozen lava formed a peninsula in the ocean with an area of ​​more than 20 hectares. On October 1, after a series of earthquakes with a magnitude of up to 3.5, a third fault opened in the volcano's crater. On October 3, an increase in explosive activity led to the structural destruction of part of the volcano's cone, the unification of the centers of lava ejection, and a significant increase in magma flow. On October 9, a new collapse of the cone occurred on the northern side of the volcano, which gave a new impetus to the flow of lava.

Consequences

The eruption led to an immediate evacuation

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