The erupting volcano on the Canary Island of La Palma continues to cause havoc, with multi-million euro damage to infrastructure, homes, businesses and farms. The lava is destroying everything in its path and it is too early for an accurate damage assessment, because volcanologists warn that many days, weeks or even months of an eruption may lie ahead.
On Monday night (21 September) and this Tuesday morning, the island has registered four new earthquakes, of which at least two were felt by its population, Spain’s National Geographic Institute (IGN) has reported.
The first earthquake at 9.32 pm (Canarian time), reached a magnitude of 3.8 according to the IGN and was felt in Los Llanos de Aridane, Tazacorte, Barlovento, El Paso, Breña Alta and Breña Baja, Fuencaliente, Los Canarios, Villa de Mazo, San José and Santa Cruz de La Palma.
The other earthquake that was felt was of a magnitude of 3 and recorded at 6.06am (Canary time), at a depth of 1 kilometre, and it was felt in a large part of Los Llanos de Aridane and El Paso. Another, also reached 3 points on the Richter scale in El Paso at a depth of 2 kilometres shortly before midnight. The fourth, in the early hours of this Tuesday had an intensity of 2.2 and was also centred in El Paso and 2 kilometres deep.
Lava flow slows
The movement of the lava slowed down yesterday, which delayed its arrival at sea, said the director of the Canary Islands Volcanic Risk Prevention Plan, Pevolca, Miguel Ángel Morcuende. This does not mean, he clarified, that the eruption has decreased its activity. Indeed, shortly after he spoke, a new eruption ‘mouth’ was opened that accompanied to the 3.8 magnitude earthquake.
The new eruption point is near the town of Tacande, with a population of 704 in El Paso, which forced the emergency services to evacuate residents.There are now almost 6,000 people that have been evacuated from their homes due to their proximity to the eruption zone or because their properties are on the path that the lava will likely take.
Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, will remain on the island until this Tuesday, after attending a meeting of the emergency committee.
The volcanic eruption of La Palma affects the main fishing area of the island, where more than 40 vessels are based. The president of the Federation of Fishermen's Guilds of the Canary Islands, David Pavón, declared that the magma falls between the area of Tazacorte and La Bombilla, and, in the short term, the problem for fishermen is to preserve their lives and save belongings, and there is uncertainty about how long the eruption will last. For now, the marine ecosystem is not affected by the magma but "the volcano is unpredictable" and the fleet will become aware of how it will affect its fishing grounds environmentally in the coming days.