Earthquakes continue to rock the island of La Palma where the Cumbre Vieja volcano continues to erupt. On Thursday (21 October), some 50 seismic movements were registered with the strongest, a 4.3 magnitude earthquake, recorded at a depth of 37 kilometres at Villa de Mazo.
Volcanologists fear that the force of the tremors will intensify. María José Blanco, director of Spain’s National Geographic Institute (IGN) in the Canary Islands, argued that, in light of the current level of seismicity, the earthquakes could register a magnitude of 6.
The two lava flows that invaded the urban area of La Laguna, in the municipality of Los Llanos de Aridane, the day before, ended up joining together on Thursday and continued heading southwest. The incandescent rocks left a bleak panorama after destroying a fuel station, the school, a recreational society and threatened to reach the church of San Isidro, built by the residents themselves.
After the latest lava advance forced the preventative evacuation of the Marina Alta, Marina Baja, La Condesa, Cuesta Zapata and San Borondón neighbourhoods in Tazacorte, as well as Las Martelas, in Los Llanos de Aridane, the number of people displaced and accommodated in hotels on La Palma rises to 416, of which 375 are staying in Fuencaliente and the rest in Los Llanos de Aridane.
The new lava flow approaching the coast is about 120 metres from the sea and could force the complete lockdown of Tazacorte, due to toxic gases, when it enters the ocean.
The quantity of ash being deposited on the island's roofs is described as ‘extreme’ and, since meteorologists are forecasting rains, its weight will increase and with it the danger of the roofs collapsing.
Lava has already covered 825 hectares of the island, 17 more than the previous day. According to the land registry data, there are some 1,196 buildings destroyed, while the Copernicus satellite programme puts the figure at more than two thousand.
Spain’s Government intends to establish the headquarters of several research centres on La Palma in an effort to encourage reconstruction, the Minister of Science, Diana Morant, announced when she visited the island on Thursday.