La Palma volcano: Spectacular new lava flows erupt from Cumbre Vieja

·1-min read
Spanish Army soldiers stand on a hill as lava flows as volcano continues to erupt on the Canary island of La Palma (AP)
Spanish Army soldiers stand on a hill as lava flows as volcano continues to erupt on the Canary island of La Palma (AP)

New rivers of lava have burst out of a volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma, threatening to cause more damage to land, roads and homes.

The Cumbre Vieja has been erupting for ten weeks, destroying hundreds of buildings and spewing volcanic ash over over 5,500 hectares of La Palma, which lies on the western end of the Canary Islands archipelago.

Authorities revealed on Sunday that several new volcanic vents had opened up, releasing new lava that was speeding down a ridge.

The molten rock coming out from the main new vent was very fluid and advancing at a speed of six metres a minute towards areas unspoiled until now, said Maria Jose Blanco, a spokeswoman for Spain's National Geographic Institute.

The new lava flows are threatening to widen the impact on evacuated land, infrastructure and homes (AP)
The new lava flows are threatening to widen the impact on evacuated land, infrastructure and homes (AP)

The eruption on the island, which lies on the western end of the Canary Islands archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, began on September 19.

Since then, at least 11 different lava flows have been identified by scientists, covering at least 1,100 hectares of land, including thousands of homes, roads, power lines and irrigation pipes for the island’s economically important banana plantations.

One of the rivers of lava last week destroyed a local cemetery, reburying the remains of over 3,000 people.

Despite the damages, no injuries or deaths have been directly linked to the eruption.

Experts said at least 80 quakes were recorded overnight on Saturday into Sunday, with the most powerful reaching a magnitude of 3.6. Some of them could be felt by residents.

Despite the unabating volcanic activity on the island, flights returned to La Palma this weekend, following a week of cancellations by airlines due to the amount of volcanic ash blowing in the airport's direction. Tourism is a big industry for all of the Canary Islands, a favourite warm weather vacation site for Europeans.

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