The volcano on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma has been spitting lava for six weeks. The natural spectacle attracts countless tourists to the island. Photo: Emilio Morenatti / AP / dpa
Over the long weekend with All Saints’ Day on Monday as a public holiday, around 10,000 mainly Spanish visitors came to the small island, as the newspaper “El País” reported, citing the Pevolca Emergency Committee. The authorities set up a free shuttle bus service to the Tajuya viewpoint, from which the volcano can be easily observed. Traffic with private cars in the direction of the volcano has been restricted.
Due to unfavorable winds, a large amount of volcanic ash was carried to the north of the island, where it covered the landscape with a gray-black layer. Photos of the Roque de los Muchachos observatory located there, whose white domes were covered with a black ash cover, could also be seen on the Internet. Of some houses closer to the volcano, only the tips of the chimneys protruded from the ashes that lay like black snow on the landscape.
The island continued to be shaken by many weak to medium earthquakes, the strongest since the eruption was recorded at 5.0 on Saturday. It was felt on La Palma and partly on three other Canary Islands, Tenerife, La Gomera and El Hierro. No significant damage was reported.
Since the volcanic eruption there have been dozens of tremors on La Palma every day. Since most tremors continue to take place at depths of well over 30 kilometers, they do not pose a significant threat, according to experts. However, they suggest that the volcano on the Atlantic island off the west coast of Africa will remain active for some time.
Since the volcano, which still has no official name, erupted again on September 19 for the first time in 50 years, the lava, some of which was almost 1,300 degrees Celsius, has completely destroyed more than 2,500 buildings, as the European Earth observation system Copernicus announced on Saturday. Accordingly, a total of 963 hectares were covered by a meter-thick layer of lava. This area corresponds to more than 1,300 soccer fields. More than 7,000 residents have had to be brought to safety since the volcano erupted. For a few days now, the lava flows have only been moving very slowly towards the coast.