La Palma volcano eruption today: evacuation, possible tsunami and live updates
La Palma gains ground on the sea as lava builds up
Lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma in Spain poured into the Atlantic Ocean for the second day on Thursday, creating a rocky outcrop more than 500 meters wide which extends the coastline of the island further west.
Vicente Soler, volcanologist at the Spanish National Research Council, said that by throwing itself into the sea, lava was less likely to cause damage on land.
Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes since the volcano erupted on September 19 and the lava flow destroyed more than 800 buildings, as well as banana plantations, roads and other infrastructure.
“This outing … represents the most favorable situation so that the lava flow does not continue to invade new territories as it has done so far, ”Soler said in a video posted to social media.
After descending the coast for nearly 10 days, lava reached the ocean just before midnight Tuesday near the town of Tazacorte. Upon reaching the water, the lava cools rapidly, binding to the cliff and expanding the territory of the island.
Despite fears that toxic lava gases will react with seawater, authorities said the air was still safe to breathe in the interior.
Emergency services warned that the ashes thrown from the crater were block sunlight and reduce visibility.
Several villages near the coast remained locked up as a precaution, but banana growers in several villages were allowed access to their plantations to tend their crops.
Reuters correspondents on the island said the the rash appears to have subsided around 10:00 GMT and no lava was expelled from the crater, although smoke continued to escape.
Photo by Sunsets Sweden / AFP