The crater of the Spanish volcano collapses, causing a surge of lava
Authorities on the Spanish island of La Palma on Monday said they were tightening their surveillance of an erupting volcano, after part of the crater collapsed and triggered a cascade of more liquid and faster moving lava. .
The crater was “like a dam,” said Maria Jose Blanco, director of the National Geographical Institute of the Canary Islands. When part of its wall collapsed, flaming rock spilled from a “lava lake” inside.
The more fluid lava followed the same course as the previous molten rock, which has now hardened, filling in the gaps and spilling out to the sides into the surrounding countryside.
The lava river is now 1,250 meters wide, 300 meters longer than on Sunday, when the crater partially collapsed.
Other earthquakes also rocked the island on Monday, although officials said they were deep underground and were not expected to create new cracks.
The Cumbre Vieja ridge volcano, which erupted two weeks ago, has become more explosive after subsiding for several days last week. The Canary Islands Institute of Volcanology showed images of football-sized pieces of lava, which it called “volcanic bombs,” thrown hundreds of meters from the crater.
The area covered by the lava has grown to over 413 hectares and the new rock plateau on the shore where the lava meets the Atlantic Ocean now covers around 80 acres, according to Miguel Angel Morcuende of the regional volcanic emergency service.
“It’s not over yet, we don’t even know how much time we have left,” Canary Islands regional president Angel Victor Torres told state broadcaster RTVE. “We are in the hands of nature.”
Most of La Palma, home to around 85,000 people, was not affected by the eruption. Rapid evacuations made it possible to avoid the victims of the eruption.
But the lava causes significant damage to property, public infrastructure and farmland.
It has so far partially or completely destroyed more than 1,000 buildings, mostly houses, and destroyed nearly 35 kilometers of roads, according to a European Union satellite monitoring agency.
Local authorities prepared to distribute drinking water to homes after the lava flow broke public supply lines.
The volcanic emergency committee ordered rescuers and scientists to withdraw from the area around the volcano due to poor air quality.