Lava from La Palma volcano reaches Atlantic ocean- Know all about it here

The lava upon contact with the Atlantic ocean set off huge plumes of steam and toxic gases. Residents outside the evacuation zone have been told to remain indoors and seal their doors and windows to avoid breathing contaminated air.

Lava from La Palma volcano reaches Atlantic ocean, Source: Reuters
Lava from La Palma volcano reaches Atlantic ocean, Source: Reuters

Lava from a volcano that erupted on the Spanish island La Palma reached the Atlantic ocean in the early hours on September 29, 2021, as per several media reports. The lava reached an area known as Los Guirres beach on the Atlantic ocean. 

The lava upon contact with seawater set off huge plumes of steam and toxic gases. The residents outside the evacuation zone have been told to remain indoors and seal their doors and windows to avoid breathing contaminated air. So far, the air has not been contaminated and is still safe to breathe, as per authorities.

The lava has left a trail of devastation that has forced many people to evacuate their houses, blanketing towns in ash with the residents struggling to come to terms with the destruction. The lava trail has reportedly consumed around 656 buildings, mostly homes in its unstoppable march towards the sea. The volcano had begun erupting on September 19th.

Impact

The authorities had earlier warned that when the lava eventually meets the ocean water, it could trigger small explosions and release toxic gases that could damage the lungs. The authorities were on alert for the same and had established a security perimeter of 3.5kms and asked residents in the wider area to remain indoors and shut windows to avoid breathing in gases.

The lava finally met the ocean late night on September 28th when it poured down a cliff into the sea at a point known as Los Guirres. Though flattening of the terrain as the lava trail approached the coast slowed down its flow but it also caused it to widen and cause more damage to nearby farms and villages. 

The lava also flowed on to the coastal highway, cutting off the last road in the area, which connected it to several villages. It will leave a lasting impact as the local economy in La Palma is largely dependent on agriculture. 

However, no deaths or serious injuries have been reported from the volcanic eruption, the island's first in 50 years, due to prompt evacuations of over 6,000 people in the crucial first hours following weeks of tremors.

How long will the eruption last?

As per experts, it is too early to determine how long the volcanic eruption will last. Previously, eruptions have been known to last for weeks, even months in the archipelago. 

When did the volcano start erupting?

The volcano erupted on the Spanish Canary Island on September 19, 2021, spewing shoots of lava into the air and few streams of red hot molten rock streaming down the hill, tearing into the woods and farmland, engulfing everything on the way and spreading wider upon reaching the lower ground. 

Volcanic Activity in La Palma

La Palma island, which is home to about 85,000 people, is the most north-westerly island of the Canary Islands, Spain. It is the fifth largest of the eight main Canary Islands. The island originally formed as a seamount through submarine volcanic activity like all Canary Islands. It is the most volcanically active of the Canary Islands along with Tenerife. The island witnessed its last volcanic eruption in 1971 from another vent, Teneguía. 

La Palma is an important tourist destination, which is now spewed with ash and smoke. All flights to La Palma remain cancelled due to the huge ash cloud formation over the island as a result of the volcanic activity. 

Source: Reuters

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