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La Palma, Canary Islands: eruption Sep 2021 - updates 13-26 Sep 2021

Updated: Nov 28, 2022 02:34 GMT -
Update Sun 26 Sep 2021 14:35
The impressive front of the (old) lava flow in the area of Todoque; note buildings for scale (image: Thorsten Boeckel / www.tboeckel.de)
The impressive front of the (old) lava flow in the area of Todoque; note buildings for scale (image: Thorsten Boeckel / www.tboeckel.de)

Cumbre Vieja volcano eruption, La Palma, activity update and field report: western portion of crater collapsed

Sun, 26 Sep 2021, 10:53
10:53 AM | BY: T
Lava fountain from the main vent at Cumbre Vieja last night; the collapsed crater area can be seen clearly if compared to similar photos from earlier updates (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
Lava fountain from the main vent at Cumbre Vieja last night; the collapsed crater area can be seen clearly if compared to similar photos from earlier updates (image: Tom Pfeiffer / VolcanoDiscovery)
Lava fountain and the lava flow that had started Friday seen last evening (image: Tom Pfeiffer)
Lava fountain and the lava flow that had started Friday seen last evening (image: Tom Pfeiffer)
Tremor amplitude since the start of the eruption (green line; image: IGN)
Tremor amplitude since the start of the eruption (green line; image: IGN)
GPS measured deformation at LP03 station (IGN)
GPS measured deformation at LP03 station (IGN)
The eruption continues at fluctuating intensity and with significant changes at the morphology of the new crater:
During the course of yesterday, a significant portion of the western flank of the cone collapsed, likely during a series of rockfalls, leaving a narrow horse-show shaped breach, thus lowering the main vent, which continued to produce violent pulsating lava fountains at fluctuating intensity.
During periods, the jets of lava likely surpassed 500 m in height with individual bombs reaching perhaps up to around 1000 m in height. Jets usually were more or less vertical, but sometimes also oblique to the west, suggesting the presence of at least two closely-spaced vents.
The lava flow from the effusive vent on the NW flank of the cone seemed to almost cease during the evening, but later resumed, creating a new flow in the same channel. This lava flow was still active by the time we left the scene at around 10 a.m.
Violent spattering could be seen at the vent; the following video shows the high fluidity of the erupted lava:


Fluctuating intensity of lava fountains
The lava fountaining activity from the main vent changed somewhat as it became more fluctuating after late last night, switching from moderate to very intense during phases lasting several minutes.
After around 0.30 a.m. local time this morning, the fountains significantly decreased and switched to intermittent, weaker pulses. Later, they resumed and gained strength again, but decreased again in the early morning hours, only to pick up again a bit.
The associated ash plume was weaker than during the previous days, but still rose to approx. 3 km height and slowly drifted towards northeasterly directions.
In undisturbed areas around El Paso and Tacande, there is now a 3 cm thick deposit of black ash and lapilli from the ongoing eruption.

Seismic and deformation data
Tremor intensity remains high, but with significant fluctuations over periods of hours. Overall, its trend is either to be stable or even increasing. The latest GPS data suggest that ground deformation is slowing down and coming to a halt, suggesting that the overall magma effusion rate is now in balance with the supply of magma into the shallow reservoir feeding the eruption.
As to what might happen next, there can only be speculation at this point. For sure, it will be interesting...
Update Sat 25 Sep 2021 10:36
View of the eruption with the lava fountain and lava flow last night
View of the eruption with the lava fountain and lava flow last night
Ash emission this morning (image: La Palma 24 webcam)
Ash emission this morning (image: La Palma 24 webcam)
Current seismic signal PA01 station since yesterday (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal PA01 station since yesterday (image: IGN)
Lava fountain last night
Lava fountain last night
Lava fountain and the new effusive vent with the lava flow last night
Lava fountain and the new effusive vent with the lava flow last night
The eruption continues at high levels with no significant variation. When observed yesterday evening and night, the new effusive vent that opened on the NW flank's base of the main cone yesterday around noon erupted a rigorously boiling low lava fountain going into a channeled fast-flowing lava flow that traveled westwards following the northern margin of the existing lava flow from the previous days.
By midnight it had reached an estimated length of 1.5 km and was covering and destroying land including a number of structures and buildings in the area of El Paraiso and/or Todoque.
The summit vent was producing continuous, fast pulsating lava fountains to estimated 3-500 m height, with ejections of some bombs probably reaching or surpassing 1000 m in height. It continued all day and night at fluctuating intensity, and has been generating an ash column that is spreading into a plume hovering over western parts of the island.
Pictures and videos of the eruption will be posted at later stage when time permits. As to the eruption overall, it seems to be at its peak perhaps and becoming stable. Tremor intensity is high overall with gradual ups and downs over periods of hours, suggesting that the flow of magma to the surface is relatively constant at elevated levels.
Deformation data suggest that the vertical inflation and horizontal ground deformation are stabilizing and coming to a halt. This should indicate that the amount of magma entering the upper reservoirs underground is compensated by the lava being erupted.
The absence of significant wind allows the spread of ash over much of the valley and also over the eastern side of the island where the airport is located. As a consequence of the strong ash emissions, the airport was closed and flights are being canceled.


Video of the lava fountain and lava flow last evening

Update Sat 25 Sep 2021 11:07
Video taken late on 24 Sep, showing the continuous lava fountains and the lava flow from the effusive vent at the base of the cone:

Increasing explosive activity, powerful shock waves

Update Fri 24 Sep 2021 15:05
Evacuation order for Tacande and Tajuya
Evacuation order for Tacande and Tajuya
Explosions have increased during the past hours, often generating shock powerful waves that can break glass in up to 3 km distance. A new effusive vent has been reported to have opened on the flank of the main cone.
As a reaction to the increase in explosive activity, new evacuations have been ordered for the areas of Tajuya and the remaining parts of Tacande.

Spectacular continuous lava fountains, tall ash emissions, eruption seems stable

Update Fri 24 Sep 2021 11:00
Lava fountain and ash column from Cumbre Vieja volcano this morning
Lava fountain and ash column from Cumbre Vieja volcano this morning
Similar view last evening (image: Michael Risch)
Similar view last evening (image: Michael Risch)
Current seismic recording and tremor (image: IGN)
Current seismic recording and tremor (image: IGN)
The eruption has been relatively stable during the past 24 hours: sustained, fast-pulsating lava fountains are rising from the vent, reaching several hundred meters and generating an ash and steam column that rises near vertically to estimated 3-4 km elevation.
The fountaining is remarkably stable, although at times briefly interrupted by giant lava bubble explosions that eject glowing lava bombs in all directions to more than 1000 m distance, often showering the whole cone with red-hot lava ejecta.
Some of these produce cannon-shot loud detonations with visible shock waves that are felt in many kilometers distance. Some people confused them with earthquakes.
Volcanic tremor overall is stable and still high, perhaps with a slightly decreasing overall trend. Earthquakes have mostly ceased and inflation seems to have stalled. This indicates that the eruption has likely found a stable phase.
Not much significant activity occurred at the lava flow fronts, which continue to widen the flow field and/or overlap older flows, thus thickening it.

Latest lava flow map

Update Thu 23 Sep 2021 17:20
Area covered by lava flows as of this morning (image: Copernicus)
Area covered by lava flows as of this morning (image: Copernicus)
The latest lava flow map (link to original in high-res) as of this morning was released.

Ash emissions increasing

Update Thu 23 Sep 2021 10:44
Ash plume from the eruption at Cumbre Vieja this morning (image: La Palma 24)
Ash plume from the eruption at Cumbre Vieja this morning (image: La Palma 24)
Current tremor signal (IGN)
Current tremor signal (IGN)
Deformation from LP03 station (IGN)
Deformation from LP03 station (IGN)
The eruption has been becoming "ashier"; today, the plume has been reaching 4000 m and is visible from much of the island.
Deformation data show inflation overall is continuing although the trend has slowed down, or even decreased temporarily yesterday. Volcanic tremor remains high, but has been showing a slight decrease compared to the past days.
This suggests that the eruption might be becoming more stable, although it cannot be ruled out that new fissures open and new lava flows might appear.

New vent near Tacande remains very active with lava fountains and active lava flows

Update Thu 23 Sep 2021 09:37
View over the area with the vent area and the lava flow this morning (image: Martin Rietze / VolcanoDiscovery)
View over the area with the vent area and the lava flow this morning (image: Martin Rietze / VolcanoDiscovery)
Closer view of the lava fountains fom the vent (image: Martin Rietze / VolcanoDiscovery)
Closer view of the lava fountains fom the vent (image: Martin Rietze / VolcanoDiscovery)
The eruption is now concentrated on the new fissure that opened yesterday.
This morning, we could see tall lava fountains continuing from it as well as a new lava flow that reached approx. 1-2 km length.

Cumbre Vieja volcano eruption, La Palma: lava flow map update

Update Thu 23 Sep 2021 00:22
A new lava flow map of the current eruption published today (image: @CopernicusEMS/twitter)
A new lava flow map of the current eruption published today (image: @CopernicusEMS/twitter)
Flat map of lava flows as on 22 Sep 21
Flat map of lava flows as on 22 Sep 21
A new lava flow map of the current eruption site has been published and updated today.
The map depicts current lava flows that continue to keep active and slowly advancing towards the coast.
Link: Copernicus: Volcano eruption in La Palma, Spain

Cumbre Vieja volcano eruption, La Palma: eruption plumes travel further south Europe

Update Thu 23 Sep 2021 00:11
The aerosol plumes from the eruptions continue to travel along the northern Africa and south Europe.
The Copernicus's latest satellite-based measurements of SO2 concentrations in the atmosphere depict that they will reach Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya including a large part of Iberian Peninsula and Mediterranean coasts of France and Italy this Friday (24 September).
According to Windy.com's visualization, the highest level of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions will likely occur in these areas.

A GIF animation depicts the volcano's SO2 emissions traveling around the northern Africa and southern Europe (source: @m_parrington/twitter)

New vent opens, Tacande village evacuated

Update Wed 22 Sep 2021 23:11
Lava fountain from the new vent near Tacande village
Lava fountain from the new vent near Tacande village
Activity continued to increase overall. During the course of the morning, two more fissures opened, one close to the original ones and another one further north of the existing vents, southeast of Tacande village, which was evacuated soon after. The opening of the vent followed rapid ground inflation in this area of 15 cm, according to unconfirmed information.
Most activity now seems to occur from the Tacande vent. It is well visible from the highway LP3 when going west after exiting the tunnel and attracts many tourists and locals alike to watch. Already, an elongated cinder cone has formed around it, and continuous lava fountains have been rising to approx. 2-300 m or more in height, producing a steam and ash plume that was rising approx. 2000 m and visible when we approached the island by airplane.
Our local correspondents who helped in recovery operations to save household items from threatened homes down from the active lava flow fronts, reported heavy ash fall in the downwind areas to the SW.
The lava flow fronts, often exceeding 10 m in height, slowed down further today but continue to widen; the largest one remains in the center of Todoque where more houses have fallen victim to the lava.
In total, the eruption has destroyed more than 320 homes and covered over 140 hectares of land by lava flows so far.

La Palma volcano (Canary Islands, Spain) activity update

Wed, 22 Sep 2021, 04:55
04:55 AM | BY: T
Lava fountains from the new vent at Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma last evening (image: Michael Risch)
Lava fountains from the new vent at Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma last evening (image: Michael Risch)
Closer view of the vent on 21 Sep 22:38 local time from El Time viewpoint (image: Kai v. Schauroth)
Closer view of the vent on 21 Sep 22:38 local time from El Time viewpoint (image: Kai v. Schauroth)
Last night, activity noticeably increased from the second vent that had opened the day before and quickly became the main one.
Lava fountains of several hundred meters height as well as large exploding lava bubbles were observed. The noise level of the eruption also increased.

Cumbre Vieja volcano eruption, La Palma: first lava samples

Update Wed 22 Sep 2021 03:03
Fresh basalt from La Palma eruption (image: INVOLCAN)
Fresh basalt from La Palma eruption (image: INVOLCAN)
Volcanologists published the first image of a lava sample from the current eruption at the volcano. The lava is of basaltic composition containing phenocrysts of plagioclase and pyroxene.
Basalt is a fine-grained, mafic igneous rock characterized by lower viscosity and lower gas content related to hawaiian and strombolian eruptions.

Cumbre Vieja volcano eruption, La Palma: 1.54 square km have covered by lava flows

Update Wed 22 Sep 2021 02:29
Updated lava flow field map of the eruption depicting estimated direction of the lava flows (image: @CopernicusEMS/twitter)
Updated lava flow field map of the eruption depicting estimated direction of the lava flows (image: @CopernicusEMS/twitter)
Impressive lava fountains continue to shoot into the sky from the four eruptive fissures feeding lava flowing slowly towards the coast.
Several lava flows form a spreading field of lava which has currently covered 1.54 square km by 21 September.
185 buildings have been already destroyed and more than 5,700 persons evacuated.

Evacuation of La Laguna has begun

Update Tue 21 Sep 2021 16:50
As the lava flows seem to increase and new vents are feared might open up, the town of La Laguna is now being evacuated, our correspondents informed us.

Video of the lava fountains last night

Update Tue 21 Sep 2021 16:47
Our correspondent Michael Risch on location filmed the lava fountains from the new vent last night:

Cumbre Vieja volcano eruption, La Palma: increasing tremor, lava flows destroy town of Todoque

Tue, 21 Sep 2021, 16:13
16:13 PM | BY: T
The lava flows approaching Todoque last night (image: Michael Risch)
The lava flows approaching Todoque last night (image: Michael Risch)
Current tremor signal showing a clear increase in the past hours (image: IGN)
Current tremor signal showing a clear increase in the past hours (image: IGN)
Earrthquakes past 24 hours
Earrthquakes past 24 hours
Inflation compared to the beginning of the crisis (image: IGN)
Inflation compared to the beginning of the crisis (image: IGN)
The eruption continues with lava fountains from the new vent that opened last night and continuing lava flow emission. During the past hours, volcanic tremor has increased significantly, suggesting that output rate has increased or something else is changing. It will probably become clearer in the next hours what is happening.
During the past 24 hours, activity has been relatively stable. The advance of the fronts have slowed down and they remained at approx. 1 km from the shore, due to the fact that the flow fronts are now in less steep terrain, which causes them to widen significantly as well rather than progress. However, they are now slowly advancing through the town of Todoque, destroying it.
The 1,200 residents from Todoque had no choice than to gather as much of their belongings and now can only watch as houses, streets, gardens are covered meter by meter by the advancing lava flows.

There are concerns that the eruption is still far from stable and yet more vents, possibly further north could open up. Inflation has been continuing and reached 30 cm in places, sign that magma is still pressurizing and accumulating underground. This is is also shown by continuing earthquake activity. Although much weaker than before the eruption, it remains significant. During the past 24 hours, there were 3 quakes of magnitudes 3.0-3.8 and 12 quakes between 2.0 and 2.9.
Another concern is the development of acid steam clouds should the lava flows enter the sea, and cause violent water-lava explosions that generate hot steam plumes mixed with hydrochloric acid (HCl) and other dangerous gasses that can be harmful to people, animals and plants.
Update Tue 21 Sep 2021 09:18
The eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano emits up to 10,665 tons of sulfur dioxide daily, scientists reported.
Economically, the eruption is taking a heavy toll on the island. So far, 166 buildings have been destroyed and more than 5,500 persons evacuated.

La Palma volcano eruption update: lava flows urban center of Todoque, numerous road closures

Tue, 21 Sep 2021, 09:10
09:10 AM | BY: T
Estimated extent of lava flows as of this morning (image: Udri @UdriGeo / twitter)
Estimated extent of lava flows as of this morning (image: Udri @UdriGeo / twitter)
In the last hours, the lava flows have been approaching the urban centers of Todoque town, part of Los Llanos de Aridane, located southwest of area known as Isla Bonita. Authorities have closed the roads LP-211 Todoque, LP-212 Tacande, LP-213 Puerto Naos, LP-215 Tazacorte-La Laguna and LP-2 at the height of Tajuya, in addition to the La Cumbre highway, LP-3, which is subject to restrictions.

The attached map shows the approximate extent of the lava flows as of this morning (link to original map on google).

Lava advance slows down, giving time to evacuate

Update mar 21 sep 2021 06:34
Lava fountain from the new vent on La Palma this morning (image: TV Canaria / El Mundo live stream)
Lava fountain from the new vent on La Palma this morning (image: TV Canaria / El Mundo live stream)
The eruption continues with no major changes over night. Fortunately, the advance of the active lava flows has decreased and not yet reached the sea it had been feared it might have done so by last evening.
This is giving valuable time to evacuate houses and other buildings in its path, for example the Ermita de San Pío X church complex in Todoque.
Lava fountaining continues from the new vent that opened yesterday evening, and a cinder cone is already growing around it. The rate of deformation of the ground seems to slowly decrease, which might be a sign that the eruption is stabilizing. In addition, earthquake activity has decreased.

La Palma volcano eruption update: new eruptive fissure, video showing exploding cistern

Update Tue 21 Sep 2021 04:14
A spectacular video footage of the opening new eruptive fissure has been tweeted by local observers, however, it does actually NOT show the new fissure, but the explosion of a cistern when lava invaded it:
The eruptive fissure opened around 9 p.m. local time in the area of Tacande, in the municipality of El Paso.
Original tweet:

User Frank kindly sent us a reliable interpretation of what is actually shown in the video (refered to as video 1):
Cistern "A" is the one plausible source due to lava being both west and east of it at the time (20 September eventing), according to Copernicus EMS SAR sat estimates, cistern "B" is the second likeliest source of the steam plume from water reservoir contact as captured on the Video #2 (drone video from the time).

As with any rapidly developing situation, there is a lot of videos even being shared by local and global news sources that aren't fact checked and could lead to needless confusion. Please try checking - the actual new vent opening video from your correspondent you posted later clearly shows (as shot from the north, very roughly geolocated as per terrain features) that the Video #1 iyou posted earlier is completely wrong in its description :)
interpretation of what is seen in the video
interpretation of what is seen in the video

La Palma volcano eruption update: lava flow hazard map

Update Tue 21 Sep 2021 04:02
Lava flow hazard map for La Palma eruption (image: IGN Canary Islands)
Lava flow hazard map for La Palma eruption (image: IGN Canary Islands)
The Instituto Geográfico Nacional Canary Islands (IGN) published a simulation of lava flows at the current eruption site where are expected to travel including a possibility of affected areas.
One the main impact of the eruption is risk from ash and gas, e.g. inhalation close to the spring site.
Update Mon 20 Sep 2021 22:43
The advance of the lava flows has slowed during the past hours and lava has not yet reached the sea although it had been expected to happen so earlier on.
Update Mon 20 Sep 2021 22:39
Local media confirm that the new fissure is at approx. 900 m distance from the previous vents. Authorities have begun to evacuate the approx. 700 residents in Tacande.

La Palma volcano eruption update: new eruptive fissure opens, followed by strong magnitude 3.8 quake

Mon, 20 Sep 2021, 22:26
22:26 PM | BY: T
Seismic signal of the 3.8 quake at 9.32 p.m. on La Palma
Seismic signal of the 3.8 quake at 9.32 p.m. on La Palma
Location of the quake, presumably close to the new eruptive fissure
Location of the quake, presumably close to the new eruptive fissure
As suspected as a possible scenario earlier, the eruption continues to evolve as a new fissure opened around 9 p.m. local time in the area of Tacande, in the municipality of El Paso. It seems to be approx. 1 km west of the original vents.
The opening of the new eruptive fissure was followed by a relatively strong magnitude 3.8 quake at 9.32 p.m., widely felt by people in Los Llanos de Aridane, Breña Baja, Tazacorte, El Paso, Breña Alta, Fuenca.
Update Mon 20 Sep 2021 19:24

La Palma volcano eruption update: lava flows approach coast, might reach the sea tonight

Mon, 20 Sep 2021, 17:38
17:38 PM | BY: T
Lava flows from the eruption of La Palma in the area downslope of El Paraíso (image: El Mundo live stream)
Lava flows from the eruption of La Palma in the area downslope of El Paraíso (image: El Mundo live stream)
Tremor amplitude from the eruption so far (image: INVOLCAN / Twitter)
Tremor amplitude from the eruption so far (image: INVOLCAN / Twitter)
The lava flows continue to advance towards the coast. According to the latest forecasts, they might reach the sea shore by around 8 p.m. local time, most likely in the area of Playa Nueva in Los Guirres.
Maritime authorities have already established an exclusion zone in the sea, stretching from Punta del Pozo (Puerto Naos) in the south to Las Viñas beach (Tazacorte) in the north, and half a nautical wide. On land, security forces are present to prevent unauthorized access.
Volcanic tremor as a measure of lava supply rate remains relatively stable and overall high. All suggests that the eruption is going to last for a while, possibly weeks or even months.
The SO2 plume from the eruption in the meantime is visible east of the island over the Atlantic ocean:
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Links / Sources:

Stunning time-lapse video of eruption seen from astrophysical observatory

Update Mon 20 Sep 2021 12:58
Webcam screenshot of the time-lapse video (image: @sky_live_tv/twitter)
Webcam screenshot of the time-lapse video (image: @sky_live_tv/twitter)
An impressive time-lapse video has been posted by the astrophysical observatory Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias of the first day of the La Cumbre Vieja volcano's eruption.
Lava jets surpassed up to a few 100 m height.

Stunning time-lapse video of eruption seen from astrophysical observatory (source:@sky_live_tv/twitter)

Aerial video showing cinder cones forming above eruptive fissure

Update Mon 20 Sep 2021 12:05
A row of cinder cones is forming on top of the main eruptive fissure (image: Radio Canaria)
A row of cinder cones is forming on top of the main eruptive fissure (image: Radio Canaria)
Canarias Radio posted a nice and short aerial showing the impressive cinder cones that have already formed on the main active fissure: link to video on twitter

Quick summary of historical eruptions on La Palma

Update Mon 20 Sep 2021 11:56

La Palma volcano eruption update: measurements reveal first eruption data

Mon, 20 Sep 2021, 10:30
10:30 AM | BY: MARTIN
Lava fountains and lava flows at the current eruption site at La Cumbre Vieja volcano (image: @SquigglyVolcano/twitter)
Lava fountains and lava flows at the current eruption site at La Cumbre Vieja volcano (image: @SquigglyVolcano/twitter)
Very high thermal anomaly detected by MIROVA (image: MIROVA)
Very high thermal anomaly detected by MIROVA (image: MIROVA)
The Volcanological Institute of Canary Islands (INVOLCAN) revealed the first measurements of SO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and a lava flow discharge rate of the current eruption at the La Cumbre Vieja volcano that began yesterday.

Sulfur dioxide emissions
First estimated amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions occurring in the plume reached to a 6000-9000 tonnes/day provided by the AEMET.

Lava flow discharge rate
New measurements were also made to provide new parameters of the lava flow discharge rate. The average lava flow discharge rate at the current eruption site is about 0,7 kilometers per hour.

Thermal anomaly
According to MIROVA Detection System a very high thermal anomaly (2828 MW) was detected in satellite images yesterday, but it decreased to 1509 MW today.

Precautions
Around 5,000 people have been evacuated from the high-risk areas. The efforts are focused on reducing infrastructural damage.

The La Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted after 8 days of intense seismic crisis yesterday afternoon as two eruptive fissures opened in the area of the Montaña Rajada mountains accompanied by lava fountains erupted from at least 7 individual vents.
Source: Instituto Volcanológico de Canarias volcano activity update 20 September 2021

Vigorous lava spattering is seen from the main vent that have begun to shoot a few 100 m height (source: Radio televisión Canaria/twitter)

Quick summary of historical eruptions on La Palma

Update Mon 20 Sep 2021 11:53
INVOLCAN published a nice animated map showing the historic eruptions of La Palma:

Surface continues to deform, uplift reaches 19 cm

Update Mon 20 Sep 2021 10:23
The scenario of new eruptive fissures opening might be not that unlikely at all. The surface continues to inflate, which is a sign that more magma is being stored underground that (can erupt) erupts at the surface - the existing paths are not large enough. The volcano might choose to either enlarge them or create new ones.

La Palma volcano eruption update: lava flows destroy houses, might reach the sea

Mon, 20 Sep 2021, 10:18
10:18 AM | BY: T
Lava fountains from the main vents early this morning (image: Canaria TV)
Lava fountains from the main vents early this morning (image: Canaria TV)
Seismic signal from TBT station showing strong continuous tremor
Seismic signal from TBT station showing strong continuous tremor
Earthquakes under La Palma during the past 3 days (image: IGN)
Earthquakes under La Palma during the past 3 days (image: IGN)
The eruptio in the Cabeza de Vaca area, in El Paso municipality, continues from at least 8 active vents along the two eruptive fissures that opened yesterday at about 200 m distance from each other. The lava has already entered the municipality of Los LLanos de Aridane when crossing the LP2 highway, and is directed towards the centers of La Bombilla and Puerto Naos on the coast.

A sizeable new cinder cone, typically described as “new volcano”, has already formed around the main vent. Lava fountains continue to shoot many tens of meters into the air from the most active vents.
Lava flows continued to advance, at an average speed of 700 m per hour, towards the west coast. The flows have already destroyed around a hundred homes in the municipality of El Paso, according to the first calculations of the Civil Protection. Fortunately, there has only been damage to property but not to people as the advance of the lava is slow enough to allow a managed evacuation and escape.

Some 5,000 people have been evacuated from the municipalities of El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridane and Tazacorte so far. An exclusion zone of 2 km radius around the eruption site has been emplaced, in order to protect people from gasses and projectiles.

There is a possibility that the lava reaches the sea, as has happened during other eruptions on La Palma, but it will depend on the available magma to erupt and the duration of the eruption. Scientists believe that they will be able to give some first estimates on these after about 48 hours of eruption, when the trend of the effusion rate can be estimated.
Ángel Víctor Torres, president of the Canary Islands, explained in an interview the "in 48 hours, a little earlier, they will be able to predict how long the eruption will last" of the La Palma volcano. He also confirmed that for the moment no more evacuations are foreseen since as long as the lava follows the projected paths downslope and the eruption doesn't change significantly.

Scientists estimate that the available magma volume is between 17 and 20 million cubic meters of magma, according to the President of the Government of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres. This amount far exceeds the 11 million cubic meters initially estimated by modelling the deformation observed prior to the eruption. For comparison, this represents less than half of the lava erupted during the 1971 Teneguía eruption, which was 43 million cubic meters.
The first estimate of the amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emitted into the atmosphere by the volcanic eruption is of the order of 6,000 —9,000 tons per day.

Lava has already destroyed isolated houses:
Live streaming of the eruption:



Seismic activity
The seismic activity on the island of La Palma continues although at lesser intensity and rate than during the buildup prior to the eruption. Since midnight, only 5 quakes above magnitude 2 and have been recorded so far, the largest a magnitude 3.0 event at 7.34 a.m. local time. However, the quakes are significant: The eruption could still evolve and new fissures could open up if the current pathways become blocked or other easier ways open up.
This scenario might not be very likely, but the quakes in the area suggest that underground, magma flow has not stabilized yet, and magma pressure is still breaking rocks to intrude into new dikes. If these propagate to the surface, a new fissure would open and lava could travel in different areas. In addition to a constant, strong volcanic tremor signal reflecting the flow of magma dominates the seismic recordings.

La Palma volcano eruption update: lava flows cut road, threaten inhabited areas, evacuations ordered

Sun, 19 Sep 2021, 19:50
19:50 PM | BY: T
The eruption on La Palma this evening (image: Canaria TV)
The eruption on La Palma this evening (image: Canaria TV)
Location of the eruption site (image: El Periódico)
Location of the eruption site (image: El Periódico)
More and more details are emerging from multiple media covering the eruption in great detail. At 4:33 p.m., a second fissure opened, about 100 meters above the first one that opened at 3.15 p.m.

The Civil Guard has announced that 5,000 to 10,000 people will be evacuated from the municipalities of El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridane, Fuencaliente and Tazacorte, as the lava flows have begun to descend down the slope. The neighborhood of El Paraíso has already been evacuated.
Current projections of the lava flows predict they are likely to run through an area near the settlement of Montaña Rajada, following a ravine. "That worries us now," said the mayor of El Paso, Sergio Rodríguez, when interviewed shortly after the onset of the eruption. The main concerns are that lava might reach inhabited areas such as La Laguna, in Los Llanos de Aridane: "The problem is further down, in the Los Campitos area. The lava is advancing slowly. People can be evacuated with relative ease," he explained.

As of now, local press indicates that at least 1,400 people have already been transferred to the El Paso soccer field. In the same municipality lava has already begun to destroy some homes late in the afternoon.

Lava cuts roads, airport closed
The lava flows already crossed the Tacande highway at around 5.30 pm, making the passage of vehicles impractical. La Palma airport has also been closed during the first hours after the eruption, as ash plumes hindered visibility, but later resumed its operations as the ash emissions decreased again.
The alert status of the volcano was raised orange (3 out of 4), and the General Directorate of Security and Emergencies of the Government of the Canary Islands activated the level 2 emergency situation (red traffic light), in application of the Volcanic Risk Plan (Pevolca).
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Links / Sources:

Live view of the eruption:

Update Sun 19 Sep 2021 19:15

La Palma volcano, Canary Islands erupts: spectacular lava fountains from several vents and lava flows

Sun, 19 Sep 2021, 19:09
19:09 PM | BY: T
The eruption site on La Palma's Cumbre Vieja volcano this afternoon (image: EFE/ Miguel Calero)
The eruption site on La Palma's Cumbre Vieja volcano this afternoon (image: EFE/ Miguel Calero)
The La Cumbre Vieja volcano finally erupted after 8 days of intense seismic crisis this afternoon at 3.15pm. At least two eruptive fissures opened in the area of the Montaña Rajada mountains, located in the municipality of El Paso, and started to erupt spectacular lava fountains from at least 7 individual vents.
Particularly in the beginning of the eruption, the opening of the vents was accompanied by strong explosions generating dense ash plumes as the ground opened to give way to the lava shooting out from underneath. The area of the eruptive fissure is an unpopulated forersted mountain zone, and some forest fires were ignited, but quickly controlled. There are no reports of damages. People are advised to avoid the area. Prior to the eruption, around 50 people with reduced mobility had already been evacuated from nearby areas, and more evacuations are now in progress.
This marks the first volcanic eruption on the island since 1971. The volcano had been quiet until 2017 when earthquake swarms started to appear from time to time, sign of magma slowly accumulating in its deeper reservoirs. The last before the recent crisis was in December last year.
So far, the eruption is relatively small and the lava flows were reported to advance rather slowly, but it is possible that it might intensify. In an article on El País, Nieves Rosa Arroyo Díaz, the island chief of security and emergencies is quote: “the lava is coming down slowly, but we are worried about the speed it could pick up. … There is an outbreak of fire, but it is being controlled.”
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez changed his original plan to fly to New York on Sunday and is expected to arrive in La Palma to address the situation with local authorities and the Defense Ministry. It is likely that an exclusion zone will be set up around the eruption site.
Video:

Precursors
The eruption today did not come entirely as surprise. Intense earthquake activity - with more than 5000 small tremors detected in few days - had preceded it since Sep 11, as well as significant ground deformation with up to 15 cm uplift. On Sep 13, the volcano's alert status was raised to yellow, because these phenomena could be seen as sign that magma had been accumulating at shallow depth. The yellow alert affected the municipalities of Fuencaliente, Los Llanos de Aridane, El Paso and Villa de Mazo, with around 35,000 people affected in total, according to El País.
A lull in activity during last Thursday to Friday was only to be replaced by renewed seismic activity that accelerated today. Still, it was probably not expected to go so fast from then on.
4 hours before the eruption, it culminated in a 3.8 quake at 11.16 am, which in hindsight is likely to have been the main event that opened a crack (or dike) towards the surface. In the hours before the eruption, volcanic tremor had been continuous and increasing as magma started to move until finally breaching the ground.

Eruption started at 3.15 p.m. local time

Update Sun 19 Sep 2021 15:09
The eruption started at 3.15 p.m. local time (14:15 GMT), 10 minutes after our previous update when we noticed the strong increase in seismic activity.
Just before the eruption, authorities had started to evacuat about 40 people with mobility problems and farm animals from the area where most seismic activity had been. More evacuations are under way.

First video of eruption

Update Sun 19 Sep 2021 14:48
Image of the eruption immediately after it began (image: INVOLCAN / twitter)
Image of the eruption immediately after it began (image: INVOLCAN / twitter)
The eruption so far seems to be small and there is not much information available yet. The following video was taken immediately after a small vent opened, producing small lava fountains and an ash plume:

La Palma, Canary Islands: new eruption - La Cumbre Vieja volcano erupts for first time since 1971!

Sun, 19 Sep 2021, 14:25
14:25 PM | BY: T
Increasing seismic activity on La Palma as the volcano erupted (image: IGN)
Increasing seismic activity on La Palma as the volcano erupted (image: IGN)
Following the increasing seismic activity and the previously suspected beginning of tremor, the volcano erupted short time ago - probably much earlier than most expected.
There are not many details yet, but from initial pictures it seems that a fissure opened on the western flank of La Cumbre Vieja, feeding lava fountains and flows, burning forests and farmland.
In the meantime, seismic activity continues to increase by the minute, dominated by volcanic tremor, reflecting the flow of magma to the surface.

More details will follow.

Intense seismic activity, uplift reaches 15 cm

Update Sun 19 Sep 2021 13:03
Latest map of uplifted area on La Palma (source: IGN)
Latest map of uplifted area on La Palma (source: IGN)
IGN confirms that the seismic activity has accelerated in the last hours, with intense surface seismicity between 0 and 6 km and numerous earthquakes felt by the population.
Up to this moment and since the beginning of the series, 6,632 earthquakes have been detected, of which 1,317 have been located. During today, 327 earthquakes have been detected, of which 86 have been located with a maximum magnitude of 3.8 or the earthquake that occurred at 10:16 (UTC), widely felt on the island and with a depth of 2 km.
The maximum accumulated vertical deformation has increased to around 15 cm in the area close to the current seismicity and its distribution is still compatible with a center of pressure in this area.

Strong seismic activity, near continuous tremor

Update Sun 19 Sep 2021 12:59
Current seismic signal PA01 station on La Palma (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal PA01 station on La Palma (image: IGN)
Spectrum of the same signal (image: IGN)
Spectrum of the same signal (image: IGN)
During the past hours, activity has been increasing further. The seismic recordings show continuous ground vibration.
While we are not sure about its origin and the interpretation of these data, it could be volcanic tremor and sign of magma moving underground. If so, the chances of an eruption are now getting even bigger.

La Palma volcano (Canary Islands) activity update: earthquakes intensify

Sun, 19 Sep 2021, 12:53
12:53 PM | BY: T
Earthquakes during the past 24 hours (map) and 7 days (depth vs time graph) under La Palma Island
Earthquakes during the past 24 hours (map) and 7 days (depth vs time graph) under La Palma Island
The seismo-volcanic crisis is intensifying. During the past 24 hours, earthquakes have continued to pick up both in numbers and strength.
The largest so-far quake was a magnitude 3.8 quake at 11:16 local time at 10 km depth, initially reported even as magnitude 4, but later revised. SO far, 5 quakes during the past 24 hours were recorded with magnitudes of 3 or more. All of these were felt by locals.
The increase in seismic activity is likely a sign that magma continues to intrude and push its way into deeper rock layers, thus causing the quakes. Another worrying trend is the general tendency of quakes getting shallower. Altogether, the likelihood of a new volcanic eruption continues to increase.

Is there a threat of a mega-tsunami from La Palma?
Unfortunately, some media outlets are picking up on the potential threat of a "mega-tsunami" that could be caused by an eruption on La Palma and devastate the US east coast... While this certainly is a potential scenario, it should also be said that it is the very worst case, and thus least likely scenario: by all known geological evidence, the current chance of a giant landslide from La Palma is still extremely slim, even should La Palma erupt in the near future.

Nearly all volcanic ocean islands suffer massive collapse events from time to time, and La Palma is no exception. About 560,000 years ago, it had lost a large portion of its southwestern flank during an event referred to by geologists as the Cumbre Nueva landslide, one of the largest known of its kind. It is estimated that major landslide events at La Palma occur every 100,000 years or more, and there is no evidence that the island's edifice is gravitationally unstable at present. Globally, major island-slope failure events that can trigger catastrophic-size tsunamis probably occur only once every 10,000 years or more. During the known history of mankind, no such event is known to have been witnessed.

Unfortunately, the official website of the National Geographic Institute (IGN) is difficult to access to review latest data, most likely from traffic overload.
Update Sat 18 Sep 2021 18:30
Latest map of uplifted area on La Palma (source: IGN)
Latest map of uplifted area on La Palma (source: IGN)

La Palma Island (Canary Islands): earthquake swarm picks up again, deformation reaches 10 cm uplift

Sat, 18 Sep 2021, 16:06
16:06 PM | BY: T
Quakes under La Palma during the past 24 hours (map) and depths of quakes over the past 7 days, showing a gradual trend of getting closer to the surface.
Quakes under La Palma during the past 24 hours (map) and depths of quakes over the past 7 days, showing a gradual trend of getting closer to the surface.
The seismic activity under la Cumbre Vieja has picked up again during the past 12 hours, after having decreased significantly during the previous day.
The largest quake was a magnitude 3.2 event at 03:26 (UTC) today, at shallow depth of 0.1 km, and was felt by the population. Up to today moment and since the beginning of the series, 5391 earthquakes have been detected, of which 1102 have been located.
The maximum accumulated vertical deformation is around 10 cm in the area close to the earthquake swarm and its distribution is still compatible with a center of pressure from a magma intrusion under the same area. These movements have been observed both with the island's GNSS network and through InSAR data (Sentinel-1).

While the seismic swarm is still far from the levels of the first days of the crisis, which had started on 11 Sep, there is a noticeable trend of quakes becoming shallower. Combined with the ongoing deformation, the chances of a new volcanic eruption are gradually becoming larger: it seems that the pulse of new magma intruding underground, causing both the quakes and the uplift of the ground, has not yet stopped.

La Palma Island (Canary Islands): earthquake swarm slows down

Thu, 16 Sep 2021, 09:09
09:09 AM | BY: T
Recent quakes under La Palma (image: IGN)
Recent quakes under La Palma (image: IGN)
Ground deformation (image: IGN)
Ground deformation (image: IGN)
The earthquake swarm has slowed down significantly over the past 24 hours, but it is too early to draw conclusions as to whether the crisis might soon be ending or whether it will pick up again in intensity.
Seismic activity continued to migrate slightly to the northwest and quakes were mostly at depths of around 8 km, although there were also 20 quakes at only 1-3 km to the surface. The maximum accumulated deformation reached about 6 cm by yesterday, the National Geographic Institute (IGN) reported. The rate of deformation has decreased, suggesting that the recent pulse of new magma intrusion might be over.
Since the start of the earthquake swarm, IGN has recorded more than 4200 quakes, of which 920 were strong enough to be located.

Earthquakes continue, becoming shallower

Update Wed 15 Sep 2021 05:31
Seismic traces of quakes under La CUmbre Vieja volcano (La Palma, Canary Islands) (image: IGN)
Seismic traces of quakes under La CUmbre Vieja volcano (La Palma, Canary Islands) (image: IGN)
The seismic crisis continues with no signs of slowing. More than 250 quakes large enough to be located were detected during the past 24 hours. Minutes ago, a magnitude 3.2 event at only 4 km depth occurred and was felt.
This quake can be seen on the seismic trace as the large green signal.

La Palma volcano (Canary Islands): likelihood of new volcanic eruption increases

Tue, 14 Sep 2021, 19:00
19:00 PM | BY: T
Locations of recent quakes under La Cumbre Vieja volcano (La Palma) (image: IGN))
Locations of recent quakes under La Cumbre Vieja volcano (La Palma) (image: IGN))
Vertical deformation (image: IGN)
Vertical deformation (image: IGN)
The volcanic-seismic crisis continues to evolve. During the past 24 hours, earthquakes have been moving westwards and become shallower, the National Geographic Institute (IGN) reported.
This is likely reflecting continued magma intrusion and migration under the surface, supported also by continued deformation of the surface in the same area as the quakes. In places, the ground has been uplifted by 1.5 cm (almost one inch) already. The likelihood of an eruption has thus increased and the situation is being followed closely, although it is still far from certain whether it will or not result in a new eruption of the volcano.

More than 2000 earthquakes in 4 days
Since the beginning of the seismic series at 3:18 (UTC) on Sep 11th until 8:00 a.m. local time today, 2935 earthquakes have been detected in the southern area of ​​the island of La Palma. Of these, 616 were large enough to have their epicenters and depths located. The largest quake occurred today at 06:00 a.m. with a provisional magnitude of 3.9. Anomalies in the seismic attenuation that currently exist under the island of La Palma caused the magnitude to have been overestimated, IGN reported, and revised the magnitude to only 3.5. At any rate, the larger quakes are now being frequently felt and reported by residents who are increasingly worried about the situation under their feet.

La Palma volcano (Canary Islands (Spain)) activity update: Yellow alert for Cumbre Vieja declared

Mon, 13 Sep 2021, 19:49
19:49 PM | BY: MJFLEGEND
Updated plot of the ongoing swarm.
Updated plot of the ongoing swarm.
The strong earthquake swarm is continuing beneath Cumbre Vieja, and now PEVOLCA has raised the alert level to Yellow, citing the repeated occurance of earthquake swarms since 2017, with this one being the strongest and also the shallowest, suggesting magma is slowly rising into the edifice. Measurements of Helium-3 gas flux are also indicating this.

La Palma volcano (Canary Islands): strong seismic swarm suggests magma intruding at depth

Mon, 13 Sep 2021, 09:31
09:31 AM | BY: T
Locations of recent quakes under La Cumbre Vieja volcano (Canary Islands)
Locations of recent quakes under La Cumbre Vieja volcano (Canary Islands)
A strong earthquake swarm started under the area of La Cumbre Vieja volcano in the southern part of the Island yesterday. So far, more than 350 tremors have been detected, including 14 quakes of magnitudes above 3.0 and 226 quakes between 2.0 and 2.9.
The strongest was a magnitude 3.4 event at 00.46 am local time this morning, which was felt by nearby residents.
Most earthquakes are at shallow depths around 8-12 km, suggesting that new magma is currently intruding into a reservoir under the volcano. Whether or not this might be leading up to new volcanic activity is impossible to say at this stage, as there seem not to be other signs of significant volcanic unrest at this stage. Similar earthquake swarms have occurred in the past as well, most recently in late Dec last year; however back then, the quakes were deeper (at around 30 km depth), which could indicate that magma has now risen higher in the volcano's underground storage systems.
La Cumbre Vieja volcano last erupted in 1971, and it is considered one of the most active volcanoes of the Canary Islands. The situation clearly merits close monitoring.
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