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Canary Island’s First Volcanic Eruption in 50 Years



Canary Island

Canary Island’s volcano erupted for the first time in the last 50 years, near the southern end of the Canary Island of La Palma, on Sunday, September 19, 2021. The volcano occasionally convulsed and rumbled, but no lava has emerged since 1971. The Canary Island President Angel Victor Torres confirmed during the Sunday night conference that there was no report of injuries.

After reports of thousands of tremors over the previous week in Cumbre Vieja, La Palma was on high alert. Authorities started evacuating some residents and farm animals from villages in the week leading to the eruption. More than 5,000 residents were evacuated two hours after the volcano in the Cumbre Vieja National Park erupted.

Rivers of lava flowed down the volcano, crossing the street. More explosions and clouds of toxic gases were expected when the lava reached the Atlantic Ocean on Monday evening. Experts say there are about 17 to 20 cubic meters of lava.

Canary Island

Courtesy of KrisNM (Flickr CC0)

The northwesternmost island in the Canaries archipelago was most affected when the volcano first erupted on Sunday, shooting fountains of lava 5,000 feet high and extremely hot at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, engulfing forests and sending molten rock towards the ocean.

Around 100 homes were affected by the volcano’s eruption. The regional emergency official Jorge Parra assured the residents of their safety as long as they followed the authority’s recommendations. A total of more than 500 tourists had to leave their hotels.

Maritime authorities closed the shipping to the west of the island in anticipation of reduced visibility, and six roads were closed. The civil air authority said the airspace remained open with no visibility problems, but the local airline canceled four flights between the islands.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


The Week: Volcano erupts on the Canary Island of La Palma, forcing evacuations; by Catherine Garcia
Reuters: Canaries volcano streams slow down, homes destroyed, thousands flee; by Borja Suarez and Marco Trujillo
National Geographic: Canary Islands volcano roars to life for first time in 50 years; by Robin George Andrews

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of kuhnmi’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of KrisNM’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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