La Palma volcano eruption update: eruption continues at high intensity, threatening La Laguna and airport operations

Sat, 16 Oct 2021, 15:07
15:07 PM | BY: T
Sentinel satellite image of lava flows as of 15 Oct 2021
Sentinel satellite image of lava flows as of 15 Oct 2021
Activity at new vent that opened or was reactivated yesterday afternoon southeast of the cone (image: INVOLCAN / Twitter)
Activity at new vent that opened or was reactivated yesterday afternoon southeast of the cone (image: INVOLCAN / Twitter)
Earthquakes under La Palma during the past 3 days (image: IGN)
Earthquakes under La Palma during the past 3 days (image: IGN)
Volcanic tremor amplitude (image: IGN)
Volcanic tremor amplitude (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
The eruption continues with high lava effusion rates and strong ash emissions. Lava flows continue to advance at various fronts, in particular along the northern margin of the existing flow field, continuing to threaten La Laguna. According to the latest figure, lava has so far covered 742 hectares, damaged or destroyed 1,058 building, out of which 854 were residential.
Volcanic tremor, as an indicator of magma flux, remains high and has increased a bit compared to the previous days.

Most notably, lava advance has been occurring at 3 lava flow fronts. Among these, two active fronts remain south of La Laguna, which are likely to merge and could soon reach the sea as well. One of these lava flows surpassed the mountain of La Laguna yesterday and was reported to be fed by a channel where lava flows at speed of 1300 m per hour:

A third active front that advanced towards the northwest is of particular concern. Yesterday, it had reached the El Cumplido road and slowly continued its path. Today, it continued moving through the industrial center of Tajuya and approaching the center of La Laguna, but it is hoped that topography will divert it more towards the west before reaching La Laguna's center.

Continued ash emissions, airport affected
At the vent, activity remains dominated by lava effusion with less explosions than before, although it still generates a plume rising to 4000 m altitude. Today, some ash fall reached the airport, affecting operations and the airspace between La Palma, La Gomera and the North of Tenerife.

New vent southeast of cone
Yesterday, a new vent was reported to have appeared 300-300 m southeast of the main cone yesterday afternoon; according to new information, it was apparently an older vent active early on in the eruption that was reactivated, but decreased its activity again toda. It mainly emitted gas and ash, but apparently no or little lava flows.

Gas emissions, seismic activity, ground deformation
Sulfur dioxide emissions were measured at 2882 tons per day, considerably lower than on previous days.
On the other hand, seismic activity increased again in the number and average size of quakes, clustered in two areas (10-15 km as well as 35-40 km below the volcano). The strongest-so-far quake was a widely felt magnitude 4.5 event early this morning.
As to the quakes in the shallower group, a weak trend is becoming visible in that they tend to migrate to the northwest, i.e. closer to the current eruptive centers.
Ground inflation observed in the past days decreased again to the levels observed since the start of the eruption.

Previous news

Sat, 16 Oct 2021, 05:25
Lava flows from the cone at La Palma this morning (image: live stream)
Explosive activity, the lava fountaining in particular, has decreased a lot and often is absent. The eruption has "switched" to be dominantly effusive; this could mean that the magma richest in gas, usually at the top of a magma batch in the reservoir and erupted first, has been exhausted by now. ... Read all
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