La Palma eruption: Satellite image captures path of lava to sea as new crack opens after eight earthquakes

·2-min read
 (via REUTERS)

A satellite image captured the path of lava spewing from the erupting volcano in La Palma - and the island’s expanding surface as the molten rock hardens at the sea.

The surface of Spain’s La Palma island is continuing to expand as lava from the volcanic eruption flows into the Atlantic Ocean and solidifies when it hits the water, European Union scientists said.

Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth observation program, said on Thursday that its satellite imagery showed a D-shaped tongue of molten rock building up on the island’s western shore that measured 835 acres by the end of Wednesday.

Meanwhile another crack opened up as authorities recorded eight new earthquakes up to magnitude 3.5.

The new fissure is the third to crack open since the Cumbre Vieja crater erupted on La Palma island on Sept. 19. The prompt evacuation of more than 6,000 people so far has prevented casualties.

Authorities were waiting to see whether lava from the new fissure would join the main flow, which has reached the Atlantic Ocean.


Officials were monitoring air quality along the shoreline where the molten rock meets the ocean. Sulfur dioxide levels in the area rose but did not represent a health threat, La Palma’s government said.

However, it advised local residents to stay indoors. It also recommended that people on the island wear face masks and eye protection against heavy falls of volcanic ash.

The lava has so far hit more than 1,000 buildings, including homes and farming infrastructure.

La Palma, home to about 85,000 people who live mostly from fruit farming and tourism, is part of the volcanic Canary Islands, an archipelago off northwest Africa that is part of Spain’s territory.

The island is roughly 22 miles long and 12 miles wide at its broadest point. Life has continued as usual on most of the island while the volcano is active.

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