La Palma volcano summit partially ruptures amid airport closure

LA PALMA, Spain — The main summit of the Cumbe Vieja volcano in La Palma partially ruptured this Saturday morning, according to Carlos Lorenzo, geologist at the Spanish Institute of Geology and Mining (IGME). He assured, after observing the volcano’s condition using drones, that the break left “an enormous flow of blocks moving down the slope of the volcano towards the sea”. The technical director of the crisis committee, Miguel Ángel Morcuende, downplayed the importance of the phenomenon.

Morcuende pointed out the existence of a new emitter pole in the same fissure, which began to emit materials to the west of the main ridge. Scientists, after the eruption, believe it could be one of the first “mouths” that opened after the main eruption, which came back to life after a period of standstill.

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“It’s not worrying,” reassured Morcuende.

The technical head of the crisis wanted to assure the people that all these changes are common in a situation like this.

“The rupture means that the different emission centers that succeed each other along a fissure can fade out or new ones can appear,” he explained. “This is a typical Canary Island eruption,” he added.

Morcuende gave as an example the “irritability phenomenon”, experienced on Friday, with significant increases in the energy of the eruption, a natural change in this phenomenon.

It was this tension that provoked the violent explosions on Friday, which forced the expansion of the isolated area and led the small Spanish island to decide to close its airport, preventing the departure of some people from the region. The information was provided by the operating company Aena, which said that the island’s airport had been closed because of the volcano, which spewed out thousands of tons of lava, destroyed hundreds of homes and forced the evacuation of nearly 6,000 people since the 19th, when the natural phenomenon began.

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“Las Palmas airport is inoperative due to the accumulation of ash. Cleaning tasks have already started, but the situation could change at any time,” the company wrote on Twitter.

The site where the eruption took place is not inhabited and it is possible to see a huge column of volcanic material

Workers swept volcanic ash from the runway, flights were canceled and the departure lounge was empty, with some people arriving at the airport and finding they couldn’t leave the island in the Atlantic.

For the time being, the situation of monitoring and possible removals of residents remains unchanged, as there are currently three active lava flows. The main one, located further north, has a maximum height of 12 meters. The secondary lava flow is 10 meters long and the third lava flow, which has recently emerged, runs south above the previous flow.

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The Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan) indicated on Wednesday that the eruption could last from 24 to 84 days. The projection takes into account data from previous explosions on the island of La Palma. The average duration of the phenomenon is 55 days.