comscore Spain’s La Palma island braces for more quakes as volcano roars on | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
News

Spain’s La Palma island braces for more quakes as volcano roars on

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS / OCT. 26
                                Residents watch as lava flows from a volcano as it continues to erupt on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain. Officials say a volcano erupting for the past five weeks on the Spanish island of La Palma is more active than ever. New lava flows have emerged following a partial collapse of the crater and threaten to engulf previously unaffected areas.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS / OCT. 26

    Residents watch as lava flows from a volcano as it continues to erupt on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain. Officials say a volcano erupting for the past five weeks on the Spanish island of La Palma is more active than ever. New lava flows have emerged following a partial collapse of the crater and threaten to engulf previously unaffected areas.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS / OCT. 26
                                Lava flows from a volcano as it continues to erupt on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain. Officials say a volcano erupting for the past five weeks on the Spanish island of La Palma is more active than ever. New lava flows have emerged following a partial collapse of the crater and threaten to engulf previously unaffected areas.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS / OCT. 26

    Lava flows from a volcano as it continues to erupt on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain. Officials say a volcano erupting for the past five weeks on the Spanish island of La Palma is more active than ever. New lava flows have emerged following a partial collapse of the crater and threaten to engulf previously unaffected areas.

LOS LLANOS DE ARIDANE, Canary Islands >> Residents on Spain’s La Palma island braced today for the possibility of bigger earthquakes that could compound the damage from a volcano spilling lava more than five weeks since it erupted.

Seismologists said a 4.6 magnitude earthquake shook the island a day after they recorded a 4.9 magnitude quake that was the strongest so far of the hundreds that have occurred under La Palma since the volcano’s Sept. 19 eruption.

So far, the earthquakes have either been small enough or far enough under La Palma to do no harm, other than adding to the anxiety of the island residents. The Tuesday earthquake was felt up to 60 miles (96 kilometers) away on three other segments of the Canary Islands, an archipelago off northwest Africa.

“The scientific committee has been warning for more than a week that we could see earthquakes, given their recent depth of around 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) and their magnitude, that reach a magnitude of 6 (on the Richter scale),” María José Blanco, director of Spain’s National Geographic Institute on the Canary Islands, told Spanish national broadcaster RTVE.

Flows of molten rock from the Cumbre Vieja volcano itself have caused the evacuations of about 7,500 people and destroyed more than 2,000 buildings, mostly homes. The rivers of lava cover over 900 hectares (2,200 acres) of mostly farmland, while one major flow is extending the island into the Atlantic as it cools.

No deaths have resulted from the eruption. Other than in an area on the island’s western side, life continues as normal for La Palma’s 85,000 residents except for having to clean up volcanic ash.

The last eruption on the island, in 1971, lasted 24 days. Its longest, in 1949, lasted 47 days. The current activity is on day 39 and shows no signs of stopping.

“We saw the worst-case scenario in the 1949 eruption, when a second volcano mouth opened up and cut off the southern part of the island, which had to be supplied by boat,” volcano scientist Vicente Soler said. “That is highly improbable, although not impossible, today.”

Comments (1)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up