A column of ash and gas rises from the Cumbre Vieja volcano. / REUTERS

La Palma volcano sulphur dioxide cloud arrives over the Spanish mainland

The volcano, which erupted on Sunday, is estimated to be emitting between 8,000 and 10,600 tonnes of the gas per day but it should not pose a health hazard on the ground


An isolated high-level weather depression is pushing the cloud of sulphur dioxide gas being emitted from the La Palma volcano towards the Spanish mainland - some 2,000 kilometres away.

The latest estimate from the Pevolca volcano experts is the sulphur dioxide emission rate is between 8,000 and 10,600 tonnes per day and the current local winds are pushing emissions towards the southeast of La Palma and the Atlantic Ocean. From that point, the sulphur dioxide cloud rises with the ash column and remains suspended in the intermediate layers of the atmosphere.

According to the Copernicus satellite programme, all that mass will be carried away towards the Iberian peninsular entering from the Alboran Sea, between Murcia and south of Alicante, and eventually settle over the entire mainland on Friday.

The sulphur dioxide cloud will also affect the Balearic Islands as of Friday; the south of France; north of Africa; Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily, as well as western and southern Italy.

Experts say that, given the dispersion of the sulphur dioxide particles in the atmosphere, it will not pose a health hazard on the ground.