La Palma volcano update: eruption intensifies again, lava flows continue to advance

Tue, 19 Oct 2021, 12:36
12:36 PM | BY: T
Activity at the vent of the eruption on La Palma aroud noon today (image: Canarias TV live stream)
Activity at the vent of the eruption on La Palma aroud noon today (image: Canarias TV live stream)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Location of quakes during the past 7 days
Location of quakes during the past 7 days
Lava flows from the past and present historic eruptions at Cumbre Vieja in comparison (image: Datadista @datadista / twitter)
Lava flows from the past and present historic eruptions at Cumbre Vieja in comparison (image: Datadista @datadista / twitter)
The visible activity at the eruption site picked up last evening if compared to the previous days. Activity remains similar, though, and occurs from at least active 4 vents at the cone. The upper vents have been producing vigorous explosions and pulsating lava and ash fountains, ejecting dense ash plumes, while the lower vents continue to feed the northern lava flow.
The ash plume reached heights of approx. 5000 m altitude this morning and drifted northwards, sparing the airport, which has been operational. Despite this, many flights especially from Central Europe are still being canceled as airlines seem to want to avoid the risk of conditions changing during in-flight (and perhaps also the uncertainty of whether scheduled return flights can take place as planned a week later).

The lava flow at the northern margin, which has been directly fed by the channeled lava flow from the cone, continued to approach La Laguna, and was reported to be close to the main roundabout this morning. A number of additional buildings were destroyed by its advance, which was reported as approx. 15 meters per hour.
The northwestern flow front near Tazacorte was only 30 meters from the sea earlier today, and might soon actually reach it, to create a second sea entry.
In total, the area covered by lava has now reached 779 hectares, which is more than double of most other historical eruptions of the Cumbre Vieja volcano:

List of historical eruptions and area covered by lava:
Tacande eruption A.D. 1430–1447: 424 ha
Tehuya eruption 1585: 338 ha
Tigalate eruption 1646: 296 ha
San Antonio eruption 1677–1678: 210 ha
Charco eruption 1712: 441 ha
San Juan eruption 1949: 323 ha
Teneguía eruption 1971: 276 ha
Current eruption Sep 2021-?: 779 ha so far

Earthquake activity has been less compared to previous days; in total, there were 17 quakes of magnitudes from 3.0-3.8 and 30 quakes between 2.0 and 3.0, while an unknown number of smaller quakes cannot be detected due to the volcanic tremor noise.
The locations of the quakes remains the same, in two layers beneath the central part of Cumbre Vieja volcano, a deeper one at 35-40 km producing fewer, but also the strongest quakes, and a shallower one around 12 km depth; both areas as thought to be areas where magma is being stored and from where it is currently rising to the surface.
The volcanic tremor signal remains high, with pulses of intensification. Deformation remains stable; a weak inflation event was recorded during the past 24 hours at the station closest to the vent area, which is likely reflecting a pulse of magma that arrived and caused the most recent increase in activity.

Previous news

Mon, 18 Oct 2021, 16:47
Activity at the vent of the eruption on La Palma this afternoon (image: Canarias TV live stream)
The eruption continues with no significant changes. At the vent, a lava flow is being erupted and intense ash emissions create an eruption column rising to approx. 4000 m. ... Read all
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