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La Palma, Canary Islands: eruption Sep 2021 - archived updates (part 4, 16 Oct - 8 Nov 2021)

Updated: Dec 3, 2022 07:19 GMT -
On this page, updates on the new volcanic eruption, that followed a strong seismic crisis over 8 days on La Palma Island will be shown youngest first to oldest. More on La Palma volcano | Quakes under La Palma | Webcams La Palma | Photos of the eruption | Questions and Answers (FAQ) | Volcano tours to La Palma

Most recent updates | Previous updates 16 Oct - 8 Nov 2021 | Next updates 9-27 Nov 2021


Activity continues to slow down

Update Mon 08 Nov 2021 09:04
Ash emission from La Palma this morning (image: Canarias TV live stream)
Ash emission from La Palma this morning (image: Canarias TV live stream)
Current tremor amplitude past 7 days (IGN)
Current tremor amplitude past 7 days (IGN)
The activity at the vents continues to decrease gradually, at least visually and audibly. Residents reported less explosions and less intense degassing noises. Explosions at the vent are intermittent and no longer as vigorous as before although ash emissions seemed to have picked up in the morning again.
On the webcam, it can be seen that lava emission continues, but also seems less vigorous. Some of it forms active lava flows on the lower flanks of the cone, overlapping older flows.
Volcanic tremor has remained at similar levels as yesterday, but continued to decrease overall. Hopes are emerging that the eruption might be approaching an end although this is still too early to be certain of.
A pair of two quakes with magnitudes 4.5 and 4.6 occurred last afternoon at 5.07 p.m. at approx. 38 depth within 10 seconds from each other, but so far, there seems not to be any significant change with other parameters (e.g. eruption intensity) that clearly correlates.
It is not known what the exact significance of these and other quakes is at the moment. Whether it is caused by an injection of new magma at depth, or gravitational adjustments perhaps caused by the depletion of magma from there or something else, is speculation. It might become clearer in the future (likely some time after the eruption ends), when the data currently collected by scientists will be more complete and when models will be made that can match the various data with the observations. For now, one can just wait and see...

La Palma volcano update: activity on slowly decreasing trend, while magnitude 4.5 quake shakes island

Sun, 7 Nov 2021, 20:01
20:01 PM | BY: T
Ash emissions from La Palma this evening (image: Canarias TV live stream)
Ash emissions from La Palma this evening (image: Canarias TV live stream)
Lava fountain and lava flows this morning seen on the webcam
Lava fountain and lava flows this morning seen on the webcam
Volcanic tremor amplitude (image: IGN)
Volcanic tremor amplitude (image: IGN)
The activity at the volcano continues at levels similar to yesterday, reduced compared to the weeks before.
Visually, intermittent, pulsating weak lava fountains could be observed in the early morning hours from the main vent at the cone along with the effusion of several smaller lava flows on the western slopes of the cone. The explosions at the summit vent continued to produce ash plumes reaching up to 8,000 ft / 2.4 km altitude drifting SW over the ocean.
Volcanic tremor has been following a decreasing trend, which suggests that the magma rate is decreasing as well. No significant change occurred at the lava fronts of the lava flow field, which is now 983,4 hectares large and has destroyed or damaged at least 2,714 buildings.
Ground deformation returned to values similar to 48 hours ago, which likely mean that yesterday's peak of inflation at the LP03 station was likely caused by an instrumental error. Overall, it also follows a trend of decrease or deflation.
Seismic activity has also been reduced compared to the previous weeks, with only 55 quakes during 24 hours with magnitudes above 2.2. The largest was a deep (38 km) magnitude 4.5 tremor at 5.07 p.m. this afternoon, which was widely felt on the island.

Activity picks up, ground inflates 10 cm during 24 hours

Update Sat 06 Nov 2021 09:45
Ash emission from La Palma this morning (image: Volcanes de Canarias / twitter)
Ash emission from La Palma this morning (image: Volcanes de Canarias / twitter)
Ground deformation at LP03 station past 7 days (image: IGN)
Ground deformation at LP03 station past 7 days (image: IGN)
Current tremor amplitude past 7 days (IGN)
Current tremor amplitude past 7 days (IGN)
This morning, the activity at the vent increased as our correspondent from Volcanes de Canarias reported through their twitter channel.
Powerful ash emissions created a plume that rose to estimated 8,000 ft (2.4 km) altitude and drifted SW over the ocean. A spike in tremor is also visible although it returned to previous levels since and still has an overall slowly decreasing tendency.
However, more worrying probably is a renewed ground uplift signal of 10 cm since yesterday on the closest GPS station, measuring now approx. 24 cm above the level before the eruption. If the data is a correct reading, it likely implies a new magma batch that intruded at depth and likely will cause another surge of activity in the near future.


Activity slows down while ground deformation and gas emissions pick up

Update Fri 05 Nov 2021 17:26
Ash emission from La Palma's active crater today (image: Canarias TV webcam)
Ash emission from La Palma's active crater today (image: Canarias TV webcam)
Current seismic signal at La Palma's TBT station (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal at La Palma's TBT station (image: IGN)
Ground deformation at LP03 station (image: IGN)
Ground deformation at LP03 station (image: IGN)
Both the visible eruptive activity at the vent and the lava flows as well as internal seismic activity have been lower today overall. Ash emissions are more intermittent and less intense since the marked drop in volcanic tremor yesterday.
This morning, the ash plume reached 8,000 ft (2.4 km) altitude, but it has no longer been continuous. The lava flows remain active. So far, they have covered an area of ​​nearly 10 square kilometers and destroyed 2581 houses according to official sources.
While this might look as if the peak of the eruption is over and it might be in a phase of dying down slowly, tremor remains significant, and even has been increasing again in the past 6 hours. In addition, ground deformation has again been showing a trend of uplift, now totaling approx. 13-14 cm, suggesting that more magma is being stored at depth than what is being erupted.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have risen also, to 29,000 tons per day and 1,850 tons per day, respectively. This increase fits with the model of more magma arriving at depth.

Activity continues with little changes, weak increase in tremor

Update Thu 04 Nov 2021 09:16
Activity at the vent of La Palma's eruption this morning (image: Canarias TV live webcam)
Activity at the vent of La Palma's eruption this morning (image: Canarias TV live webcam)
Current tremor amplitude past 7 days (IGN)
Current tremor amplitude past 7 days (IGN)
Current seismic signal TBT station since yesterday (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal TBT station since yesterday (image: IGN)
The eruption continues with no significant changes in observed and measured parameters.
At the cone, several vents remain active with near-continuous pulsating ash-rich lava fountains, as well as intermittent stronger explosions, generating an ash plume rising approx. 2 km today. Most of the erupted lava is directly entering the lava tube system from the lower vents.
Volcanic tremor has increased again compared to yesterday, but still remains lower than the average of the past weeks. Whether its amplitude corresponds to the lava output rate is in parts speculation; visually, the latter seems to be reduced at the moment.
The lava flows did not advance significantly over the past 24 hours, with nearly all activity occurring along the southern margins of the active flow field.
Trade winds today are carrying the ash plume, approx. 2 km high, towards the SW over the ocean, which is good for the airport on the east side to be operational.
Earthquakes:
During the past 24 hours, 119 quakes of magnitudes from 2.3 up to 3.7 maximum have been registered under the volcano as of this update. Larger ones have been absent since the 5.1 event yesterday morning, but this can of course change again quickly.

Ash fall deposits create increasing problems

Update Wed 03 Nov 2021 12:58
Street and cars covered in ash in Los Llanos de Ariadne (image: El Time)
Street and cars covered in ash in Los Llanos de Ariadne (image: El Time)
Ash fall in the Ariadne valley is increasingly a problem. More army personnel is called in to help remove the heavy load from roof and the streets before rains set in and make it much worse, as it will then form a natural cement-like mixture and increase its weight.
Source: El Valle reclama más Ejército "antes de que lleguen las lluvias" (El Time)

Lava flows advance along Camino Aniceto road

Update Wed 03 Nov 2021 12:51
Lava flows continue to advance today along the Camino Aniceto road:

Aerial video showing craters aligned in a row

Update Wed 03 Nov 2021 12:49
Aerial view of the erupting cone with several of its active or already inactive vents aligned (view is from the east)
Aerial view of the erupting cone with several of its active or already inactive vents aligned (view is from the east)
The government released a video of a drone overflight taken yesterday. It shows very nicely the configuration of the different vents aligned in a row on top of the original eruptive fissure:

Strongest-so-far quake at magnitude 5.1 at only 26 km depth under island

Update Wed 03 Nov 2021 07:50
Seismic trace of the magnitude 5.1 quake under La Palma this morning (image: IGN)
Seismic trace of the magnitude 5.1 quake under La Palma this morning (image: IGN)
This morning's magnitude 5.1 event, which hit at 7.27 a.m., is the strongest-so-far tremor under the volcano since the seismic crisis followed by the ongoing eruption began in September.
It was felt all over the island, and if the depth is correct of only 26 km it deviates significantly from the depth layer around 35-40 km, which has been where other stronger quakes in the range of magnitudes 4.5-5 that have occurred so far.
This could be due to new magma intrusion into intermediate layers at this depth. It will be important to see whether it will be followed by an increase of lava activity in the near future (several hours from now possibly).

Tremor remains lower, but earthquakes pick up, magnitude 5.1 this morning

Update Wed 03 Nov 2021 07:36
View of the eruption on La Palma at dawn today (image: Canarias TV live stream)
View of the eruption on La Palma at dawn today (image: Canarias TV live stream)
Current tremor amplitude past 7 days (IGN)
Current tremor amplitude past 7 days (IGN)
Activity continues with ash emissions from the main vent and lava effusion from the lower one, feeding most of it into a tube system.
An active lava flow breakout is visible on the webcam in the upper part of the lava flow field, but it seems to remain on top of older flows.
Volcanic tremor has continued to drop a bit, suggesting less magma is currently rising and arriving as lava, but earthquakes seem to have picked up again somewhat. Just minutes ago, a strong quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 5.1 occurred at 26 km depth minutes ago, but these data might be corrected still.

Magnitude 4.2 quake

Update Tue 02 Nov 2021 19:10
Just minutes after the previous update, a magnitude 4.2 quake occurred... Tremor remains unchanged.

Volcanic tremor drops to half its previous value, activity lower

Update Tue 02 Nov 2021 17:06
Ash emission and lava flowing from the vent at La Palma this afternoon (image: Canarias TV live cam)
Ash emission and lava flowing from the vent at La Palma this afternoon (image: Canarias TV live cam)
Tremor amplitude showing the marked decrease today (image: IGN)
Tremor amplitude showing the marked decrease today (image: IGN)
The seismic signal shows it as well very well (image: IGN)
The seismic signal shows it as well very well (image: IGN)
Frequency of quakes over the past days (image: IGN)
Frequency of quakes over the past days (image: IGN)
The activity has been lower on most fronts today. Most notably, volcanic tremor dropped sharply at around noon local time to about half its values of the previous days average.
Whether this correlates to reduced lava effusion is difficult to say with certainly but at least likely. Lava continues to be seen arriving at the lower vent of the cone, now approx. 200 m tall, and from there mostly flowing into the tube system, but maybe it has been less in volume during the past day. In agreement with this interpretation is that the lava flows that advanced yesterday along the southern margins of the flow field also slowed down a lot and made almost no progress today.
The area of Las Norias, which has been the most threatened to become the next victim of lava flows reaching part of the Camino Aniceto road yesterday, still remains intact for now and can thus still hope to survive.
Ash emissions from the main crater remained intense, however, and produced a plume that rose to 3-4 km this morning. Different wind regimes brought much needed relief to the Ariadne valley, allowing sunshine to reach the ash-plagued area. But when one side of the island is free from the ash, the other usually suffers... The westerly winds pushed the ash cloud to the east and northeast, with the result that the airport located on the eastern coast had to close today.

Earthquakes have decreased as well to about half in numbers compared to most previous days. Since last evening's 4.6 quake at 8.24 p.m., no other quakes of similar size have occurred, but approx. 100 quakes of magnitudes between magnitudes of 2.5-3.6.
Deformation is still elevated, but shows a weak trend of decrease.
Measured gas emissions remain high, with some increase according to local news articles.

In the meanwhile, the army is helping to clean roofs from the heavy load of ash in some areas. This is particularly important to do before the (awaited) winter rains set in, which mixed with the ash create a cement-like mass and make for dangerous extra load, that could easily bring many roofs to collapse.

Latest map of lava flows

Update Tue 02 Nov 2021 16:33
Latest map of the lava flows (image: info.igme.es)
Latest map of the lava flows (image: info.igme.es)
The latest lava flow map shows the recent progress of the lava flows mainly at the southern margin of the flow field, in particular the flow called number 11.

Southern lava flow threatens to cut off El Remo and Puerto de Naos

Update Tue 02 Nov 2021 09:16
Aerial view of the only remaining access road to Puerto Naos now threatened to be cut off (image: El Time, s. link in text)
Aerial view of the only remaining access road to Puerto Naos now threatened to be cut off (image: El Time, s. link in text)
With lava effusion remaining high, most of it has been feeding the lava flows on the southern part of the flow field, in particular the ones named 3 and 9 on official maps.
The flow fronts yesterday were still in the Charcón area and had not reached the coast, but threaten to cut off the only remaining access road to El Remo and Puerto de Naos. According to a local news article, authorities are considering building an emergency new access road to allow trucks to access the threatened coastal areas in order to assist evacuation efforts.
In the meanwhile, further upslope on the southern margin, another flow front has detached near Cogote Mountain and forms another tongue that destroys new land areas so far "only" covered by thick (up to 1-2 meters) of ash fall:

Images of the effects of ash fall on the island

Update Mon 01 Nov 2021 21:25
The devastating effects of ash fall in areas near the eruption site on La Palma can be seen in a series of photos taken by press photographer Emilio Morenatti:
Link to the images: Der grauschwarze Schnee von La Palma (Die Zeit)

Spectacular video showing lava arriving at vent and disappearing in tube

Update Mon 01 Nov 2021 17:29
Lava lake forming at the vent and disappearing into a tube (image: IGN video screenshot)
Lava lake forming at the vent and disappearing into a tube (image: IGN video screenshot)
A spectacular drone video of the eruption taken by staff from the National Geographic Institute (IGN, Instituto Geológico y Minero de España) was published today.
It shows how the largely degassed magma arrives at the lower vent to form a small lava lake and then takes its way into a lava tube:

This explains why seemingly not too much lava is being erupted, although the contrary is true. It is estimated that around 66 cubic meters of lava per second are being erupted, an extremely high value for a volcanic flank eruption like the current one on La Palma.

Intense ash emissions continue, bad air quality in the Ariadne Valley

Update Mon 01 Nov 2021 08:46
Activity at the vent of La Palma's eruption this morning (image: Canarias TV live webcam)
Activity at the vent of La Palma's eruption this morning (image: Canarias TV live webcam)
View of the area this morning, showing the hazy air
View of the area this morning, showing the hazy air
Volcanic tremor amplitude since start of eruption (image: IGN)
Volcanic tremor amplitude since start of eruption (image: IGN)
Not much has changed at the ongoing eruption. The main vent at the crater emits near-continuous jets of ash-rich fountains while modest amounts of lava flow from lower vents into a channeled surface flow on the western flank of it.
Volcanic tremor as an indicator of magma flow rate has decreased a bit, but remains high. No significant changes in earthquake activity or ground deformations can be reported either, all pointing to that the eruption is in a more or less stable phase and shows no clear trend, certainly no signs of possibly ending very soon, unfortunately.
Meteorological conditions remain adverse for the western part of the island, in particular the Ariadne valley, where thick vog (volcanic fog) prevails, an unhealthy mixture of gasses and fine ash particles trapped in the air.
In Los Llanos de Ariadne, concentration values of up to 499 grams of fine dust or ash particles per cubic meter in the air have been detected recently. This is 10 times the standard threshold of 50 micrograms/m3 still considered as healthy to breathe. It is strongly advised to avoid going outside, close windows, and wear dust masks (preferably FFP2 type).

Magnitude 4.6 quakes hits the island

Update Sun 31 Oct 2021 18:11
Seismic trace of the magnitude 4.6 quake this afternoon at La Palma, recorded on neighboring El Hierro Island (image: IGN)
Seismic trace of the magnitude 4.6 quake this afternoon at La Palma, recorded on neighboring El Hierro Island (image: IGN)
Just as we reported that quakes had been less intense recently, a strong magnitude 4.6 tremor, one of the strongest since the start of the crisis, hit the island at 34 km depth 20 minutes ago, at 5.52 p.m.
The quake was widely felt all over the island.
Update Sun 31 Oct 2021 18:00
View of the eruption area from the port of Tazacorte this afternoon
View of the eruption area from the port of Tazacorte this afternoon
Dense vog - volcanic fog - is filling the Ariadne Valley today, due to an inversion layer in the atmosphere trapping the erupted ash and gas plume. People are advised to use masks to protect themselves from the fine particles and bad air quality.

La Palma volcano eruption update: earthquakes lower in numbers but becoming shallower

Sun, 31 Oct 2021, 17:52
17:52 PM | BY: T
Time vs depth of quakes under La Palma during the past days
Time vs depth of quakes under La Palma during the past days
The latest information from the government reads that seismic activity is on the decrease while magma output remains very elevated. Emissions of sulphur dioxide have been decreasing for the 5th day in a row although remain very elevated. On the contrary, emissions of the volcanic CO2 (carbon dioxide) have increased.
All this suggests no near end of the eruption. The increase of CO2 could be an early warning sign that more magma has arrived at depth, as this gas is one of the first to escape.
Looking at earthquakes, the decrease in numbers and overall magnitudes is visible, but there is also a tendency of earthquakes to become a little shallower over the past 24 hours or so, if data are correct. Several quakes of magnitudes around 2.5-3.0 have been recorded at depths of 8-10 km (compared to 12-15 km as most others so far).
It is too early to draw conclusive interpretations, but it could either mean gravitational adjustments by gravitation of rock layers overlying the current main storage area of magma at 10-15 km depth, or the formation of new fissures underground, known as dikes, which act as pathways for magma to rise, with the potential to reach the surface at new locations.

Volcanic lightning becoming more frequent

Update Sun 31 Oct 2021 13:02
Volcanic lightning at the eruption on La Palma (image: INVOLCAN)
Volcanic lightning at the eruption on La Palma (image: INVOLCAN)
Scientists from INVOLCAN documented several volcanic lightnings seen in the eruption column.
Over the past days, these have become more frequent. This goes along with the observed increase in explosive behaviour at the vents - more material is being fragmented into ash (as opposed to liquid lava fountains) and the resulting particles are probably finer as well.
Such volcanic "thunderstorms" are often seen during explosive eruptions producing large quantities of ash, although the details are still poorly understood. In a simplified model, the lightnings are the result of electric charges accumulating in different parts of the eruption cloud, where friction between the ash grains rip of electric charges (electrons) from each other. The more quantity of ash emitted, the faster and more turbulent it is moving and the finer the ash grains, the more likely this process occurs.
Video of the explosive activity yesterday:
Update Sun 31 Oct 2021 12:52
The main road connecting the east side with the west, the LP-3, has been closed for regular traffic. Tourists visiting the island should keep this in mind that the much longer alternative roads around the island need to be taken to reach El Paso coming from Santa Cruz.

La Palma volcano eruption update: intense ash emissions, no end in sight despite decrease of quakes

Sun, 31 Oct 2021, 09:56
09:56 AM | BY: T
View of the eruption at La Palma this morning (image: Canarias TV live cam)
View of the eruption at La Palma this morning (image: Canarias TV live cam)
Latest lava flow map (image: Copernicus)
Latest lava flow map (image: Copernicus)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Eruptive activity remains elevated, dominated by strong ash emissions reaching up to 18,000 ft (5.5 km) altitude today, but fortunately drifting west over the Atlantic ocean and sparing the airport. Local sources reported loud explosions could be heard over night. The eruption has been becoming increasingly "ashy", or explosive, at least when it comes to what can be seen at the vents:
At the active cone, the emission of incandescent, fluid lava by fountaining and lava flows is less intense compared to previous days, but volcanic tremor remains very high, suggesting that the effusion rate has not dropped. The most likely explanation is not that activity has decreased, but that most of the fluid lava erupted is diverted directly into a lava tube system and mostly remains hidden from view, until it emerges somewhere downslope to feed surface flows on top of older flows or create new active flow tongues along its margins.
In fact, active lava flows continued to advance at various fronts over the past 24 hours as well, most notably feeding the southern arm (red in the attached map), which was very close to the sea shore near Puerto Naos yesterday; it is unclear whether it has already created a second sea entry south of the existing one,but it looks as if has not.
For the local communities, it can be hoped that as much as possible of the lava goes into the ocean rather than continuing to destroy new land areas, but unfortunately, nothing can be done rather than to watch and wait.
As of yesterday, the latest data published are 970.0 ha of land covered by lava flows (23.5 ha added in 24h), and 2,562 destroyed buildings (30 more during 24 hours).

Earthquakes on the other hand have decreased significantly, with less than 100 events of magnitudes between magnitudes 2.4-3.5 during the past 24 hours.
Deformation of the ground remains stable. Following yesterday's deep magnitude 5 quake, no quakes larger than 3.5 have since occurred.
It is impossible to draw concise conclusions; however, the presence of strong tremor and the relative drop in quake activity could mean that the plumbing system is in a phase where magma is rising from its deeper sources to the surface encountering less obstacles at the moment. In other words, less quakes don't mean at all that the eruption has slowed down.

First quake above magnitude 5 while lava activity is strong

Update Sat 30 Oct 2021 06:49
Seismic trace of the magnitude 5.1 quake under La Palma this morning
Seismic trace of the magnitude 5.1 quake under La Palma this morning
Activity at the volcano with bright glow from the vents and lava flows all the way to the coast can be seen from Tazacorte (image: TAD server, EU Commission webcam)
Activity at the volcano with bright glow from the vents and lava flows all the way to the coast can be seen from Tazacorte (image: TAD server, EU Commission webcam)
Half an hour ago, the island was shaken by a strong magnitude 5.1 quake at 39 km depth beneath the center of Cumbre Vieja at 7.24 a.m. local time. This is the strongest-so-far tremor since the start of the seismic crisis and volcanic eruption in September.
While volcanic tremor is very high and bright glow from the eruption site indicates that activity also is elevated, this quake could mean that yet another pulse of magma from a deep source is under way; if so, activity might increase in the course of the day.

Increasing volcanic tremor, latest data on lava volume

Update Fri 29 Oct 2021 16:03
Current seismic signal at La Palma's TBT station (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal at La Palma's TBT station (image: IGN)
Seismic activity has been very high with over 200 quakes between magnitudes of 2.5-4.2 during the latest 24 hours alone. In the past hours, tremor amplitude has increased although visible activity has not, as far as can be judged from often cloudy webcam views.
The latest data on the eruption indicate a magma discharge rate of approx. 66 cubic meters per second, a remarkably high value given the eruption is now well into its second month. It now totals nearly 230 million cubic meters, or a quarter of a cubic kilometer, of lava added to the island in volume, about as much as the large 1991-93 flank eruption of Mt Etna that threatened the village of Zafferana back then...
On top of the lava, the eruption releases approx. 16,350 tons of sulphur dioxide per day.

Quakes picking up again

Update Fri 29 Oct 2021 09:05
Depth vs time of quakes under La Palma
Depth vs time of quakes under La Palma
Earthquakes under the volcano seem to be on the increase again. During the past hour alone, 4 quakes of magnitudes greater than 3 have occurred at depths of 10-12 km. The largest at magnitude 3.9 at 9.38 a.m., about 30 minutes ago, was widely felt.
Update Fri 29 Oct 2021 08:13
The latest lava flow map clearly shows the recent advance of lava south of Todoque (image: IGME)
The latest lava flow map clearly shows the recent advance of lava south of Todoque (image: IGME)

La Palma volcano eruption update: activity continues with no significant changes

Fri, 29 Oct 2021, 07:19
07:19 AM | BY: T
The eruption site on La Palma this morning (image: kimedia.es webcam)
The eruption site on La Palma this morning (image: kimedia.es webcam)
Current seismic signal LP01 station since yesterday (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal LP01 station since yesterday (image: IGN)
The eruption continues with strong ash emissions creating a plume to approx. 10,000 ft / 3,000 m altitude and drifting SW.
Visible lava fountaining remains at relatively reduced levels as last night, as well as the effusion of a surface lava flow from the breached crater.
The volcanic tremor and earthquake activity remain unchanged at high levels. The station data to show the seismic plot and spectrum is back online.

La Palma volcano eruption update: activity a bit calmer today, but lava flows make more progress

Thu, 28 Oct 2021, 19:17
19:17 PM | BY: T
Lava fountain from the main vent at the La Palma eruption this evening (image: kimedia webcam)
Lava fountain from the main vent at the La Palma eruption this evening (image: kimedia webcam)
The eruption seen from the port of Tazacorte (image: TAD server, EU Commission)
The eruption seen from the port of Tazacorte (image: TAD server, EU Commission)
Tremor amplitude since the start of the eruption (green line; image: IGN)
Tremor amplitude since the start of the eruption (green line; image: IGN)
Ground deformation at LP03 station (image: IGN)
Ground deformation at LP03 station (image: IGN)
Following the surge of activity yesterday, the eruption has been a bit calmer today, relatively speaking. Lava fountaining and lava flow effusion continue with impressive force at the vent.
The eruption column was still rising to 3000 m today, but the prevailing trade wind regime dissipates it to the SW, which is why the airport has been operational at least most of the time. In downwind areas near the vents, however, thick ash fall is increasingly a problem, threatening roofs etc to collapse, destroying farmland, gardens and making ways impassable.

Lava flows advance
The latest data for the area covered by lava was published as 905,46 hectares earlier today, 48 more than yesterday. Unfortunately, this illustrates that active lava fronts have made more progress in the past 24 hours, especially along the southern margin of the flow field, where lava is about to destroy the remaining houses of Todoque:

Earthquake activity remains intense as well, but also less so compared with the previous few days. In the past 24 hours, there were 87 quakes of magnitude 3.0-3.9 and 99 quakes between 2.0 and 3.0, but no new magnitude 4+ tremors.
Ground deformation has returned to levels a few days ago - likely, the elevated activity in the past 48 hours has "emptied" the excess magma volume that seems to have had accumulated at depth, causing the recent ground uplift.
Volcanic tremor is likely a bit less as well, but the National Geographic Institute's (IGN) TBT station data has no longer been available, at least not publicly on their site; it can be hoped that the station is not damaged and will be back online soon.

Updated lava flow field map

Update Wed 27 Oct 2021 08:21
Latest map of the area covered by lava flows as of 26 Oct morning (image: Copernicus EMS)
Latest map of the area covered by lava flows as of 26 Oct morning (image: Copernicus EMS)
The Rapid Mapping Team of the Copernicus project released the 34th update on the map of the area covered by new lava, totaling now 908.2 hectares as of 26 October at 07:08 UTC.
The good news is that the larger the lava field is, the more likely it is that new lava will rather be added on top of it instead of covering new areas. In fact, the activity at the sides of the lava flow field has slowed down; only about 1.9 hectares were covered by new lava flows and no new buildings damaged during a 24 hours interval.

La Palma volcano eruption update: strong activity this morning comes after uptick in earthquakes

Wed, 27 Oct 2021, 07:45
07:45 AM | BY: T
Intense activity at the La Palma volcano this morning (image: kimedia webcam)
Intense activity at the La Palma volcano this morning (image: kimedia webcam)
Quakes vs depth under La Palma during the past 7 days, showing the latest increase
Quakes vs depth under La Palma during the past 7 days, showing the latest increase
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
The activity at the vents has strongly increased this morning. Tall lava fountains, reported up to 600 m tall, rise from the main vent, while others produce dense ash and lava spattering. Lava can also be seen flowing on the surface away from the cone.
This seems to correlate with an increase of earthquakes in the last 24 hours, after having being reduced in numbers yesterday. There were 4 quakes between magnitudes 4.0-4.7 alone in addition to 130 ones at magnitudes around 2.5-3.9.
One of the magnitude 4 quakes occurred early this morning at shallow depth of 13 km, which is thought to be the main reservoir of the magma before it rises to the vents.
Quakes precede phases of intensification?
It seems that such upticks of quake activity precedes phases with increased lava supply several hours later. This might fit into the following model: first, magma pressure at depth increases either by surges from new magma arriving there or from temporary blockages in the paths above, preventing a sufficient release of it at the eruption; then, the pressure on the surrounding rocks create new cracks and paths, which shows up as quakes. 3rd, the magma then then rises through new and existing conduits until it reaches the surface hours later.

Latest lava flow map

Update Tue 26 Oct 2021 20:59
Lava flow map as of yesterday (not much change today; image: IGN)
Lava flow map as of yesterday (not much change today; image: IGN)

La Palma volcano eruption update: dramatic and rapid ground uplift, while surface activity calms down temporarily

Tue, 26 Oct 2021, 20:54
20:54 PM | BY: T
Lava fountain from the main vent at the La Palma eruption this evening (image: kimedia webcam)
Lava fountain from the main vent at the La Palma eruption this evening (image: kimedia webcam)
Ground deformation at LP03 and LP05 stations showing the uplift today (image: IGN)
Ground deformation at LP03 and LP05 stations showing the uplift today (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Numbers of daily quakes showing the marked decrease today (image: IGN)
Numbers of daily quakes showing the marked decrease today (image: IGN)
Compared to yesterday, the visible activity at the vents has decreased somewhat today. Only one of the vents seems now to produce pulsating lava fountains and an ash plume has been rising to approx. 2-2.5 kilometers today. Surface lava flow activity near the vents has decreased a lot as well.
Last evening, following hours of intense activity from at least four vents, parts of the western crater walls at the vents collapsed and gave way to short-lived floods of lava on the slopes of the cone. Whether or not the visible decrease is caused by a decrease of magma supply at the moment, remains unknown.
One factor to consider is that such larger re-configurations at the vent create new conditions so that the arriving magma might more easily find new ways to enter existing or create new tubes, and remain hidden from direct view.
However, it is likely that currently, indeed less magma is reaching the surface, but is this a sign the eruption might be waning? Likely not, unfortunately: instead of slowly deflating (as the magma chamber is being emptied by the eruption), the ground near the eruption site has been rising significantly again. And quite dramatically so. If the station LP3 has a correct measurement, the ground rose 10 cm (!) since yesterday. If that amount of inflation is caused by more magma arriving from depth into shallower reservoirs than what is erupting, it would fit the picture of less activity at the vents.
It also fits the observation that the volcanic tremor remains high, at similar levels as the past days, meaning that the system is still being supplied sign significant amounts of magma each day.

What is not easy to interpret in this model is that earthquakes have decreased significantly in numbers at the same time. Compared to the past days'average, less than half as many quakes occurred in the past 24 hours, "only" about one hundred... To add to all this, one of the strongest quakes so far at magnitude 4.8 or 4.9 occurred this afternoon at 5.25 p.m. at 40 km depth. It was widely felt on the whole island.

La Palma volcano eruption update: eruption with no end in sight, continues at high intensity

Mon, 25 Oct 2021, 21:25
21:25 PM | BY: T
Activity at La Palma today (image: 1-1-2 Canarias @112canarias / Twitter)
Activity at La Palma today (image: 1-1-2 Canarias @112canarias / Twitter)
Latest lava flow map (image: IGME)
Latest lava flow map (image: IGME)
Quakes vs depth under La Palma during the past 7 days
Quakes vs depth under La Palma during the past 7 days
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
The eruption continues with little changes, and remains very intense. The active cone shows strong explosive and effusive activity; in particular, the summit vents have been producing spectacular lava fountains and generate an ash plume that rose to 3,800 m this morning. Several surface lava flows have been observed flowing from the cone.
The mixed explosive-effusive activity paired with high rates of magma reaching the surface causes frequent small and sometimes larger changes of the geometric configuration at the growing cone, as rapid accumulation works against the forces of gravity, drag of material ejected and flowing away and parts that become undermined by formation of tubes etc.; currently, at least 4 or 5 vents are active aligned in a row, with different behavior as the magma pressure varies with the height of the vents themselves and the complex interactions of the rising gasses and the fluid magma in the conduits.
To get an impression, watch the activity at the vents filmed by drone from the government today:

Concerning the most significant instrumental data, there are no signs of a soon end in sight either. Instead, earthquakes have slowly increased not in size, but in numbers. During the past 24 hours, there were 103 quakes of magnitude 3.0-3.7 and 156 quakes between 2.0 and 3.0. The location remains the same as before,- most at around 12 km depth under the central part of Cumbre Vieja and a few ones in the deeper layer around 35 km depth.
Ground deformation also suggests that magma pressure from below is stable, with no clear trend. This suggests that there is still supply of magma from deeper sources to balance the erupting volumes, or, in other words, the eruption is at an equilibrium and might go on for a while still.

Quakes at La Palma are NOT artificial! (and the island is not "under attack")

Update Sun 24 Oct 2021 23:27
Quakes on La Palma apparently arranged on a grid - this is due to the rounding of latitude / longitude values (image: EMSC)
Quakes on La Palma apparently arranged on a grid - this is due to the rounding of latitude / longitude values (image: EMSC)
Unfortunately, there are currently articles going around in the net that misinterpret plotted quake epicenter data for recent quakes at La Palma. One should understand that reported quake locations are necessarily rounded values and if plotted on maps, are arranged on a grid, reflecting simply the margin of error of measurements, normally the size of the last digit after the decimal - if rounded to 2 digits in latitude / longitude, it is an approx. 1 km resolution in this case.
Read more about this artifact!

Add-on: the island is "not under attack" by any strange forces; nor it is by any significant likelihood going to collapse and produce a "mega tsunami" to devastate the US east coast. This scenario is so extremely unlikely that it is not worth any headlines, but unfortunately enjoys lots of media attention who seek sensationalism.
Update Sun 24 Oct 2021 22:20
Lava fountaing from the summit vent at La Palma this evening (image: kimedia.es live cam)
Lava fountaing from the summit vent at La Palma this evening (image: kimedia.es live cam)
Activity is intense this evening. You can follow it live on the kimedia webcam.

La Palma volcano update: eruption intensifies, new lava flow to the south

Sun, 24 Oct 2021, 16:21
16:21 PM | BY: T
Activity at the vents last evening or early today (image: author unknown, via Volcanes de Canarias @VolcansCanarias / twitter)
Activity at the vents last evening or early today (image: author unknown, via Volcanes de Canarias @VolcansCanarias / twitter)
Tremor amplitude from the eruption so far (image: IGN)
Tremor amplitude from the eruption so far (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Live view of the eruption this afternoon (image: kimedia.es webcam)
Live view of the eruption this afternoon (image: kimedia.es webcam)
The intensity of the eruption increased. Since the last update, the at least 4 active vents have been generating violent pulses of lava fountains with ash columns rising to approx. 3 km, as well feeding both surface lava flows directly from the vents as well as fueling the hidden-from-view lava tubes that transport most of the lava to active areas of the flow field downslope.
Volcanic tremor has increased significantly during the latest hours, likely heralding that a strong pulse of magma is reaching the vents. The southeastern vent that had been reactivated or opened a week ago, and so far only showed explosive activity, now also started to erupt more lava, in form of pulsating lava fountains. This vent now feeds a new lava flow travels towards the southern slopes and has already reached the San Nicolas district in Las Manchas.
An impression of the activity at the volcano yesterday is seen in the following video:

According to the latest data, 891,9 hectares of land have been covered by lava and 2,270 buildings destroyed or damaged.
Earthquakes continue to increase if not in size but in numbers, remaining in the same area mostly around 12 km depth beneath the center of the volcano Cumbre Vieja. During the past 24 hours, the island had shaken by 77 quakes of magnitude 3.0-3.9 and 121 quakes between 2.0 and 3.0.

La Palma volcano eruption update: intense ash emissions, strong quakes, but lava flows slowed

Sat, 23 Oct 2021, 16:36
16:36 PM | BY: T
Ash plume rising today from La Palma, drifting south and southeast (image: Volcanes de Canarias @VolcansCanarias / twitter)
Ash plume rising today from La Palma, drifting south and southeast (image: Volcanes de Canarias @VolcansCanarias / twitter)
Activity at the vent this afternoon (image: Canarias TV live stream)
Activity at the vent this afternoon (image: Canarias TV live stream)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Activity continues with strong ash emissions and lava effusion from the vents, similar to previous days.
The overall advance of the lava flow fronts has slowed down, fortunately. In the last 24 hours, only 3.24 hectares have covered additionally by lava flows. The total affected area stands now at 850 hectares, and the flow field is at its maximum 2,900 m wide.
This apparent decrease of lava flow activity, however, is likely not because a decrease of magma output, but because most of the erupted lava has been adding to thicken the existing lava flows and/or overlapping them. Volcanic tremor remains high; it has even increased a bit compared to yesterday, suggesting that magma output rates are still very elevated.

Earthquake activity remains high, and with the addition of the recent 4.9 quake, slowly increases in both numbers and maximum magnitudes.
Ground deformation has increased again slightly: the deflationary trend of the past day stopped and turned again to inflation. At the LP 3 measuring station, the ground elevation is now 18.5 cm uplift compared to pre-crisis levels.

Largest so far quake at magnitude 4.9

Update Sat 23 Oct 2021 16:19
A short time ago, at 4.34 p.m., the island was shaken by a magnitude 4.9 quake at 38 km depth. The quake was the largest-so-far in the current crisis. It was first estimated at magnitude 5.0, but then downgraded to "only" 4.9.

La Palma volcano eruption update: lava effusion and quake activity remain high, but first signs of hope from deflation

Fri, 22 Oct 2021, 16:34
16:34 PM | BY: T
Ash emission and lava spattering at La Palma this afternoon (image: Canarias TV live stream)
Ash emission and lava spattering at La Palma this afternoon (image: Canarias TV live stream)
Map of recent quakes under La Palma, past 3 days (image: IGN)
Map of recent quakes under La Palma, past 3 days (image: IGN)
Ground deformation at LP03 station (image: IGN)
Ground deformation at LP03 station (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
The eruption continues with activity fluctuating between more and less intense phases at the vents. Near-constant fountaining form the summit vent at the cone produces dense ash emissions that rose to approx. 2,800 m today, while lava spattering and lava flow effusion can be seen from the lower vent.
However, most lava is likely invisible at the vents as it is going directly into a system of underground lava tubes that have formed with time and transport it to various areas of the active flow field, which continues to advance slowly at various fronts, mostly along its northern margins.
Volcanic tremor levels remain high, suggesting that the magma rate as well continues to be very high, estimated to be around 60-70 cubic meters a second.
Volcanic earthquakes continue to increase if not in size but in numbers; during the latest 24-hour period, the National Geographic Institute (IGN) detected 135 earthquakes under the island, 14 of which were felt by people. The strongest quake was a magnitude 4.4 event at 11.54 p.m. last night, while another quake of magnitude 4.2 occurred earlier this morning. Both of these stronger ones were in the deeper layer between 35-40 km depth. Most other quakes were under the center of Cumbre Vieja at around 12 km depth “as usual”; this area is believed to be where the magma is stored before rising to the erupting vents.
Ground deformation is now showing a decreasing trend, which is a good sign as it should indicate that the eruption of magma now outpaces the supply from depth, and maybe can be taken as careful indicator that the peak of activity has been passed.

Video of the lava flows in La Laguna earlier today, taken by a drone of the government:

Eruption continues to destroy La Laguna town

Update Fri 22 Oct 2021 07:26
Latest map of the lava flows (image: info.igme.es)
Latest map of the lava flows (image: info.igme.es)
The eruption continues at similar levels as the past week, still with no signs that could fuel hopes it might stop any time soon, unfortunately.
Lava flows have reached the center of La Laguna, which is in the course of being more or less completely destroyed.
In terms of economic damage on ground, it already ranks among the most devastating volcanic eruptions in the recent history worldwide.

New evacuations ordered

Update Thu 21 Oct 2021 08:05
Area ordered for evacuation last night (image: Canarian Government)
Area ordered for evacuation last night (image: Canarian Government)
Unfortunately, there has not been significant change in activity and the eruption continues to feed the growing lava flow field at high effusion rates.
In particular, the northern margins of it continue to be active and slowly advance in the area of La Laguna, the southern part of which already is buried under the lava flows.
As a consequence, the government needed to decide to evacuate another adjacent area, between the center of Tazacorte and La Laguna, as shown on the map, Las Martelas in the municipality of Los Llanos de Aridane, Marina Alta, Marina Baja, La Condesa y Cuesta Zapata in the municipality of Tazacorte:
Update Wed 20 Oct 2021 13:14
The lava flow in La Laguna has touched (but so far spared) the gas station (which hopefully had been completely emptied earlier on...)

La Palma volcano eruption update: eruption continues with no end in sight

Wed, 20 Oct 2021, 13:09
13:09 PM | BY: T
Activity at the vent of the eruption on La Palma aroud noon today (image: TV La Palma live stream)
Activity at the vent of the eruption on La Palma aroud noon today (image: TV La Palma live stream)
Latest lava flow map (image: IGME)
Latest lava flow map (image: IGME)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
The eruption, now over a month old, continues without significant changes, and no soon end in sight.
However, at least visually, the intensity has been lower today so far compared to last night. Ash emissions been decreased and stronger trade winds bring much needed relief to the Ariadne Valley.
The active lava flows unfortunately continued to advance and reached the center of La Laguna, where more and more buildings and structures fall victims to it.
Volcanic tremor remains high, with little change, suggesting that magma flux remains in the same order as during the past weeks. The new vent southeast of the main cone, which had been seen appearing or reactivating itself and erupting ash plumes last Friday, is active again, according to reports, ejecting some lava material as well. The more lava erupts from this vent, probably the better for the endangered areas along the northern margin; if it starts to produce lava flows, they are likely to remain on top of older flows.
Other parameters show little variations as well that could point to important changes: Earthquake activity remains elevated with more than 100 quakes above magnitude 2 recorded during the past 24 hours, slightly more than average. Ground deformation remains stable, with no clear trend towards in- or deflation visible at the GPS stations.

Why activity is different at different vents

Update Wed 20 Oct 2021 07:31
Cartoon showing the different activity at the vents of La Palma at the moment (image: Volcanes de Canarias)
Cartoon showing the different activity at the vents of La Palma at the moment (image: Volcanes de Canarias)
Volcanes de Canarias (link to twitter) published a simplified sketch to illustrate the current arrangements of vents at the eruption site, to help to better understand how the activity is different at each vent. Ultimately, this is a function of how gasses, present as bubbles inside the magma as well as still in solution in it, separate from the liquid magma column when it rises to the surface, and might form different regimes within the system:
For example, if gas bubbles form a type of conduit within the magma column, aggregating along a specific area, they likely will erupt as gas jets with little liquid and more ash, something typically observed at the upper vents. Areas at the margins of the main column might be largely degassed on the other hand; these will form liquid, but lower fountains or entirely effusive vents.
Another important factor includes how much external water (i.e. from the groundwater system) interacts with the magma. Depending on how much water is present and able to interact with the magma, this interaction can completely change the dynamics of the activity at some (or even all vents). Water can absorb a lot of energy, but if in contact with magma, it typically transforms into steam as result, which goes with a thousand (1000!) times increase of volume. If the generated steam is not easily released, it becomes over-pressured, and once, this pressure overcomes the surrounding containing pressure, will. result in violent explosions known as phreatomagmatic.
Phreatomagmatic activity is more likely to occur at the vents furthest away from the center, where magma rises through older rock layers that might still contain water or are in connection with aquifers.

Largest so far quake at magnitude 4.8

Update Tue 19 Oct 2021 23:19
Location of this evening's 4.8 quake at La Palma
Location of this evening's 4.8 quake at La Palma
The strongest-so-far quake, a magnitude 4.8 event at 39 km depth, occurred at 10.48 p.m. on Tuesday evening under the island. Whether it is an indication of another pulse magma going to fuel the eruption remains to be seen, but a possible scenario, in which case activity should be picking up even more in the near future.

Beginning of eruption and 4 weeks later

Update Tue 19 Oct 2021 22:45
An impressive comparison of the landscape change since the beginning of the eruption; viewpoint is south of the vents:
Update Tue 19 Oct 2021 21:29
La Palma eruption live evening of 19 Oct 21 (image:  TV La Palma live stream)
La Palma eruption live evening of 19 Oct 21 (image: TV La Palma live stream)
The activity from different vents this evening is intense.

Lava flows continue to advance, causing destruction in La Laguna

Update Tue 19 Oct 2021 21:24
Latest map of lava flows on La Palma as of 19 Oct afternoon (image: VolcanesyCienciaHoy / facebook)
Latest map of lava flows on La Palma as of 19 Oct afternoon (image: VolcanesyCienciaHoy / facebook)
The area east of Montagna La Laguna where most lava flow advance has occurred (image: VolcanesyCienciaHoy / facebook)
The area east of Montagna La Laguna where most lava flow advance has occurred (image: VolcanesyCienciaHoy / facebook)
Activity has remained intense this afternoon and evening. It seems that a new pulse of magma has arrived, increasing the output of lava. At the vent, lava fountains and vigorous spattering produce dense ash clouds and feed the northern lava flow field, which is active at many fronts with varying intensity.
The lava fronts furthest have advanced 350 meters since yesterday, and are located just a few hundred meters east of the main junction of La Laguna.
The same area is being approached dangerously by another flow further to the west, directed northwest. This one has crossed the LP 213 main road at the roundabout just south of the gas station near the main junction. If it continues its path, it will likely destroy the main buildings located along and near the main junction including the school and other buildings.
The flow front further to the west has remained just short of reaching the sea cliff, but likely will arrive at the shore soon.

Source: VolcanesyCienciaHoy / facebook

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.

La Palma volcano eruption update: continuing ash emissions to 4000 m altitude causing increasing problems

Mon, 18 Oct 2021, 16:47
16:47 PM | BY: T
Activity at the vent of the eruption on La Palma this afternoon (image: Canarias TV live stream)
Activity at the vent of the eruption on La Palma this afternoon (image: Canarias TV live stream)
Latest lava flow map (image: IGME)
Latest lava flow map (image: IGME)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
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.
Although the activity has been much less noisy recently, the continuous gas and ash emissions, often in combination with little wind has been causing lots of ash fall and poor air quality in the Ariadne Valley, which is an increasing problem.
The lava flows have advanced a bit along the active northern fronts, but the northwestern flow has not yet created a new sea entry (although it might occur soon).
Tremor remains at similar levels as during the past weeks, even a bit above average.
Earthquakes continue as well at similar numbers as before, in the same areas - mostly in 10-15 km depth under the center of Cumbre Vieja, and few, but often stronger ones at 35-40 km depth. IGN recorded a total of 101 quakes during a 24 hour interval, including 7 felt ones, with the strongest being a magnitude 4.6 event at 12:57 a.m. early today.
Deformation is showing a weak trend of deflation, suggesting that the magma reservoir is slowly emptying.

Annotated latest lava flow map

Update Sun 17 Oct 2021 20:47
Latest map of lava flows and the tube system at La Palma as of Sun 17, 2021, afternoon (image: VolcanesyCienciaHoy / facebook)
Latest map of lava flows and the tube system at La Palma as of Sun 17, 2021, afternoon (image: VolcanesyCienciaHoy / facebook)
Enrique / VolcanesyCienciaHoy on facebook posted a very informative new lava flow map shown below.
Lava flow (or lobe) 9C has developed 3 arms. One of them, the one located more to the north, traveled about 450 m since yesterday's position and is likely going to reach the ocean in the course of this evening, destroying on its way banana fields. The flow destroyed the SPAR supermarket in La Laguna, but fortunately only few other structures.
As to the northern flow (10A and 10B), the flow fronts appear to have stopped. The flow arm 10C, which advanced a lot yesterday has almost stopped, advancing only a few tens of meters.
New lava outbreaks have appeared in the highest part of the flow field; the most energetic of which is shown as 10D arm.

La Palma volcano update: eruption continues with slight decrease of activity

Sun, 17 Oct 2021, 16:59
16:59 PM | BY: T
View of the vent area at La Palma this morning (image: Canarias TV live stream)
View of the vent area at La Palma this morning (image: Canarias TV live stream)
Latest lava flow map (image: IGME)
Latest lava flow map (image: IGME)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Current seismic signal LP01 station (image: IGN)
Activity has been a bit lower today compared to previous days. Volcanic tremor remains at moderate levels with pulses of intensification now and then, but is lower than during the past days, suggesting that lava effusion also decreased a bit.
At the vents, a lava flow continued to be active and explosions at the upper vents produce pulsating fountains with strong ash emissions. The ash plume has been rising nearly vertically today due to the absence of winds, reaching an altitude of approx. 4000 m.
The advance of the lava flows has slowed somewhat. The northern flow front, west of Montagna La Laguna and directed westwards, has been advancing at rates of approx. 15 m per hour and is now close to or already at the coastal cliff.
Deformation shows a trend of deflation at the station closest to the eruptive center, suggesting that the output of lava now exceeds supply of it from depth. This could be seen as a first sign the eruption likely has passed its peak.

Earthquake activity remains significant, although also decreased a bit compared to previous days. During the past 24 hours, there was 1 quake of magnitude 4.0, 24 quakes between 3.0 and 4.0, and 51 quakes between 2.0 and 3.0.

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.

Eruption now dominantly effusive

Update Sat 16 Oct 2021 05:25
Lava flows from the cone at La Palma this morning (image: live stream)
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.
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VolcanoDiscovery GmbH, Germany, Reg. nr.: HRB 103744, EU Tax Id: DE 310 395 322 owned and created by
Dr. Tom Pfeiffer, volcanologist, volcano photographer, tour organizer member of
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Ecotourism Greece
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