Fears as volcano eruption alert on the Canary Islands

·1-min read
Gran Canaria: Sunbathers at Las Canteras beach in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria: Sunbathers at Las Canteras beach in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Authorities on the Spanish Island of La Palma have warned a sudden increase in earthquakes could be a warning sign a volcanic eruption is due within weeks or even days.

Spain’s National Geographic Institute has detected 4,222 tremors in a so-called “earthquake swarm” in the Cumbre Vieja national park, around the Teneguia volcano in the far south of the island.

As the quakes intensified and moved closer to the surface, the Canary Island’s regional government on Tuesday put the island on a yellow alert for an eruption; this is the second of a four-level alert system.

It said on Thursday there was no clear evidence for an immediate eruption, though warned the situation could evolve rapidly.

“More intense earthquakes are expected in the coming days,” it said in a statement.

Rising sharply out of the Atlantic around 100 kilometres to the west of southern Morocco, the Canary Islands are home to Spain’s most active and best known volcanoes.

This includes Teide in Tenerife and Timanfaya in Lanzarote.

Teneguia last erupted in 1971; it was the last surface eruption to occur in Spain while a volcano off the tiny island of El Hierro erupted underwater in 2011. 

The island is a favourite of tourists. Its economy has already been badly hit by the pandemic and lockdown.

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