La Palma volcano eruption update: new vents open, new lava flows and worries about earthquakes
Fri, 1 Oct 2021, 00:3800:38 AM | BY: T
The cone of the eruption on La Palma this evening, with the two new lava flows
Seismic recording of TBT station today (image: IGN)
The eruption continues with stable lava output, feeding several lava flows both near the vent and the main one that is supplying lava to the new ocean entry, which continues to grow slowly.
Ground deformation at LP03 station (image: IGN)
During most of today, southerly winds caused continuous ash fall in the area of El Paso and beyond, making driving etc difficult and the air filled with dust. At the vent, activity remains intense: vigorous lava fountaining with heights between estimated 50-100 m continued at the fissure vent on the NW lower flank, while several vents in the summit as well as two newly formed vents in between were producing pulsating, powerful and near-vertical jets of gas, ash and lava bombs. The vents are aligned along a northwest-southeast trending line, presumably reflecting the original eruptive fissure.
The cone itself is subject to frequent and sometimes dramatic changes. During the day, we observed increased steaming and dust rising from the northern flank of the cone complex and were speculating about new cracks opening as the cause resulting in movements of that flank. Later in the evening, two new fissures opened on the NW flank and rapidly emitted two new lava flows that quickly descended parallel to the north of the existing flows, covering and burning additional land, probably including other so far untouched buildings in the evacuation zone.
The new eruptive fissures we observed are in the line of the other vents and below the main lava fountaining vent.
Earthquakes and ground deformation continue
Volcanic tremor remains stable at moderate to high levels, indicating a constant flux of magma to the surface. Further below, new earthquakes at 10-15 km depth beneath the central part of the volcano continue along with renewed ground deformation. This likely suggests that magma intrusions at depth, similar to the one before the eruption, are occurring and might either join the existing eruption, stall and stagnate again, or perhaps even cause the openings of new vents.