La Palma: Canary Islands volcano lets the island grow


La Palma – Around six kilometers long, the 1000 degree hot lava made its way across the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma. On Wednesday night, it fell into the sea – and created a new headland there.

The Canary Islands volcano makes the island grow.

The new land formed by the lava in the Atlantic Ocean is already around 25 hectares (250,000 square meters). The exact size of the headland is now to be measured from the air with drones.

Poison hazard in the air



A man watches the lava flowing into the sea from a pontoonPhoto: Daniel Roca / dpa


Clouds of steam spread out where the lava flows into the Atlantic

Clouds of steam spread out where the lava flows into the AtlanticPhoto: SUNSETS SWEDEN / AFP

So far, trade winds have blown away the clouds of water vapor and poisonous gases that are created when the lava, at a temperature of more than 1000 degrees Celsius, hits the ocean’s water, which is 22 degrees Celsius. The concern is that the wind could blow the poisonous clouds inland.

Hydrochloric acid and tiny particles of volcanic glass released into the air can cause skin, eye and respiratory irritation. Local residents have been urged to stay in their homes to protect their health.

855 houses destroyed

The volcanic island was declared a disaster area on Tuesday. On September 19, the volcano erupted in the Cumbre Vieja ridge for the first time in 50 years. Since then, the lava has been flowing down the western flank of the island. So far, at least 855 buildings, 30 kilometers of roads, banana plantations and greenhouses have been destroyed by the glowing mass.


Explanatory graphic: Risks and dangers of a volcanic eruption - infographic

More than 6000 of the 58,000 island residents have had to leave their homes so far. Fortunately, there have been no deaths or injuries so far.

The regional government estimates that the damage will amount to several hundred million euros.

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