November 27, 2021


Connecting People

Most Active Volcano in the Canary Islands Erupts for the First Time in 50 years

For the very first time in fifty years, Cumbre Vieja on the island of La Palma has erupted. This shield volcano (imagine Hawaii) is a person of the most energetic volcanoes in the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa but had been silence because 1971. That all improved Sunday afternoon when the volcano burst back to daily life soon after a 7 days of earthquakes that recommend magma increasing up into the volcano.

Footage of the eruption reveals the usual lengthy lava flows and lava fountains that are predicted from a volcano like Cumbre Vieja. The basaltic lava is significantly less most likely to bring about an explosive eruption, so threat to lives is limited. Nevertheless, the opening moments of the eruption captured by a news crew present a dim cloud of ash (yet again, not uncommon in the opening moments of these design eruptions). It speedily became an extraordinary lava fountain that fed lava flows.

Lava Flows Prompt Evacuations

Webcam video clip of the eruption is spectacular, exhibiting the several eruption vents and lengthy tongues of lava reaching down the slopes of the volcano. Above eighteen,000 people today dwell within just 6 miles of Cumbre Vieja and quite a few have had to be evacuated owing to this eruption. The lava flows are what has prompted the evacuation of more than five,000 people today from the area in close proximity to Cumbre Vieja. Current stories have at least eight properties ruined by these lava flows.

Small-wave Infrared Sentinel-2 picture of the La Palma September 2021 eruption. Credit: ESA

INVOLCAN, the checking company observing the volcano had noted hundreds of earthquakes previous 7 days, main to an improve in the warn standing at the volcano. Footage taken of the eruption by INVOLCAN staff members associates present the large, chunky a’a lava flows and enable you listen to the roar of the vent erupting uphill from their locale.

La Palma’s Volcanic Origins

The island of La Palma is built of two overlapping volcanoes, significantly the exact same way that Hawai’i is built of five volcanoes. The younger, a lot more energetic a person is Cumbre Vieja — the a person at present erupting. The more mature a person is Caldera Taburiente and it has a heritage of large landslides associated with its eruptions. These are the landslides that may perhaps have manufactured large tsunamis in the past. Thankfully, the latest eruptions are not on this more mature volcano and are extremely not likely to create the large landslides wanted for an Atlantic Basin tsunami.

All of the Canary Islands had been formed by a volcanic hotspot — a plume of warm substance that rises and melts underneath the oceanic crust off Africa. This is the exact same form of approach as Hawai’i, where by as the plates slow transfer, a “monitor” of volcanoes is remaining in its wake. The volcanoes of the Canary Islands are significantly significantly less energetic than their Hawaiian counterparts most likely mainly because the hotspot feeding them is significantly less vigorous.

What is Up Up coming?

This is the very first eruption in the Canary Islands because 2012, when a submarine volcano off the coast of El Hierro loaded the sea with weird floating “coconuts” built of sea sediment and lava. That eruption previous about fifty percent a 12 months. The previous eruption of Cumbre Vieja in 1971 previous just quick of a thirty day period. Eruptions further more in past several hundred years had similiar longevities of months to a thirty day period or so. We will not know if the latest eruption on La Palma will follow that pattern, but the volcano’s heritage recommend it may possibly not be too lengthy prior to it heads back to sleep.