The emission of ash from the Cumbre Vieja volcano has intensified on the island of La Palma. / EFE

La Palma's Cumbre Vieja volcano ash cloud intensifies threatening commercial flights

There are concerns the volcanic plume could affect other Canary islands and air traffic as of this Tuesday

EUROPA PRESS Santa Cruz de La Palma

Experts have warned about the increase in the quantity of ash being expelled from the erupting Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Canary Island of La Palma.

On Monday, the technical director of the Volcanic Emergency Plan of the Canary Islands (Pevolca), Miguel Ángel Morcuende, and the Scientific Committee’s spokesperson, Carmen López, highlighted the high amount of ash being generated is causing problems, and has forced some lockdowns, mainly in the west and northwest zone of the island.

Carmen López warned that the ash clouds could be directed east this Tuesday, 2 November, and may reach the western islands that could affect the operation of the La Palma and La Gomera airports.

More earthquakes

Pevolca’s Miguel Ángel Morcuende explained that the number of earthquakes remains quite high at medium depth, between 10 and 11 kilometres, but "there are no surface events", which is "important to avoid major problems."

Morcuende also pointed out that although there is still a "large amount" of SO2 (sulphur dioxide) in the volcanic plume, the quantity has been falling for seven days in terms, stating that "the more it falls is good news”.

The area affected by lava flows on the La Palma has now reached 967.85 hectares, an increase of 4.2 in 24 hours. According to Copernicus satellite data, some 2,574 buildings have been destroyed, and there are another 142 at risk.

It is estimated that the area of crops affected currently reaches 281.99 hectares, 2.11 more than in the last update, with 158.79 hectares relating to banana crops, 58.76 to vineyards and 23.82 to avocados.