It is a potentially dangerous phenomenon. Lava from the volcano that erupted ten days ago on the island of La Palma, in the Spanish Canary Islands, reached the ocean on the night of Tuesday 28 to Wednesday 29 September, announced the Volcanological Institute. of the Canaries (Involcan).
“The lava flow has reached the sea at Playa Nueva”, Involcan said on its Twitter account shortly after midnight local time. The Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted on September 19.
La colada de lava ya ha cruzado la Carretera de la Costa / The lava flow has already crossed the Carretera de la Co… https://t.co/EX78L82wkt
On Tuesday afternoon, the lava, which had varied in speed over the past few days, even coming to rest at one point, was still some half a mile from the sea, making it impossible to predict when she would reach the ocean.
This encounter between molten lava and water was particularly feared because of the production of toxic gases and harmful particles that it could cause.
For this reason, the regional government of the archipelago had decreed a “2 nautical mile exclusion radius” (about 3.7 km) around the place where the lava was expected to arrive.
On Monday, residents of several neighborhoods in Tazacorte, a village near the coast, were called on to confine themselves due to fears of toxic gas emanation.
The entry of the lava brood into the sea came hours after the government released 10.5 million euros in direct aid to victims of the eruption on Tuesday.
The state of natural disaster has been declared on this island of 85,000 inhabitants, where lava flows destroyed 589 buildings – not all of which are dwellings – and covered 258 hectares of land, according to the European system of geospatial measurements Copernicus .
Lava also washed away many roads. The president of the Canary Islands region, Angel Victor Torres, estimated last week that the damage would exceed 400 million euros. He is counting on European funds to rebuild. The island of La Palma lives mainly from the cultivation of bananas and tourism.
The eruption left no people killed or injured, but resulted in the evacuation of more than 6,000 people who had to leave their homes.
Since it erupted, the volcano has been spewing huge columns of smoke reaching several hundred meters high, but also ash. The accumulation of these disrupted air traffic, causing, Friday, the cancellation of the seven planned domestic flights, then the closure the next day of the airport. Although it has officially reopened, flights remain suspended for the time being. Experts estimate that the rash could last for several weeks or even a few months.