La Palma volcano eruption already biggest on the island in more than 100 years

Tue, 5 Oct 2021, 10:08
10:08 AM | BY: T
Lava fountain and flow this morning at La Palma (image: Canarias TV)
Lava fountain and flow this morning at La Palma (image: Canarias TV)
Latest lava flow map (image: IGME)
Latest lava flow map (image: IGME)
The historic lava flow deltas (image: Gobierno Canarias)
The historic lava flow deltas (image: Gobierno Canarias)
SO2 plume from La Palma eruption hovering over the Canary islands and the Atlantic (image: Copernicus)
SO2 plume from La Palma eruption hovering over the Canary islands and the Atlantic (image: Copernicus)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Earthquakes under La Palma during the past 3 days (image: IGN)
Earthquakes under La Palma during the past 3 days (image: IGN)
The eruption continues without significant changes this morning, with lava fountaining at the main vent, ash rising a 2-3 km and slowly drifting southwest, as well as a new lava flow from the now breached crater.
Already now, with only little more than two weeks of activity, it is significantly bigger than the two previous eruptions on the island during the past 100 years. The volume of erupted lava was estimated at 80 million cubic meters last Friday, and now probably more in the range of 100-120 million m3, surpasses both the eruptions of San Juan (1949, with 55 million m3 lava) and Teneguia (1971, 43 million m3 lava).
Latest data
According to the latest data, the lava flows have covered more than 400 hectares of land, including 31 km of roads and destroyed more than 1000 buildings. The lava flows reach a maximum width of 1250 meters, and have a height of 8-50 meters. The slowly growing sea delta forms a peninsula about 40 hectares, and adds to the southwestern coastal western plains formed by recent volcanic eruptions.
It was estimated that the eruption has so far emitted 250,000 tons of sulphur dioxide (SO2). The plume has been hovering around the Canary Islands, North Africa, the Mediterranean, parts of it drifted over the Atlantic, even reaching the Caribbean to the west and the Arctic in the north.

Deeper earthquakes appear
Earthquakes continue to occur and have been slowly increasing in numbers and magnitudes approaching magnitudes of 4.0 now. During the past 24 hours, there have been 31 quakes of magnitudes 3.0-3.9 and 47 quakes between 2.0 and 2.9, while smaller quakes cannot be detected due to the volcanic tremor noise.
While most of the quakes are still 10-15 km deep under the central area of the volcano, a cluster of new, deeper quakes has appeared at depths around 35 km under the northeastern flank. What these mean is uncertain, but they might reflect even deeper magma intrusions in the upper mantle, perhaps suggesting that a magma supply system is establishing itself from a very deep source. That in turn could mean that the eruption could be going on for a very long time.
At the ground, deformation rates seem to have been more or less stagnant, which means that magma intruding is balanced off by lava being erupted, or, in other words, the eruption is stable at the moment.

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