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Monday, September 20, 2021

La Palma eruption will last "a week and more"

Summit of the island of La Palma Image by Martin Winkler from Pixabay

President of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, explained this Monday that in 48 hours or a little earlier it will be possible to predict the duration of the eruption of the volcano on La Palma. The director of the Canary Islands Volcanological Institute (Involcan), Nemesio Pérez, said on Canarias Radio that it will be the sulphur dioxide emanating from the volcano that will be the "clue" that will indicate the moment the eruption can be declared finished.

"Since yesterday we have been monitoring sulphur dioxide because this is going to be a very important parameter to see when the process is going to end. At the moment it is expelling between six and nine thousand tons a day," he indicated.

Pérez, who believes that it will last "a week and more", has stated that when two or three days are observed without emissions of sulphur dioxide, the volcanic eruption may be given as terminated. "Now we must monitor the effect of the lava tails and minimize the impact they may have on people. We are going to see what the trajectory is in an area where there is a lot of housing, I am very sorry because it is going to destroy everything in its path."

The seven eruptions that La Palma had experienced in historical times until this Sunday - since the Conquest of the 15th century - were all concentrated around the Cumbre Vieja and their duration ranged from one to three months.

The longest eruption of all that have been documented to date on the Isla Bonita is that of Tehuya, which occurred in 1586, which lasted 84 days: from May 19 to August 10.

16 historical eruptions in the Canary Islands

"In the Canary Islands we have had eruptions that have lasted several days and others that have lasted several months. We understand that it is going to be a historical eruption. The biggest problem now is to see the people who have worked all their life to have a little house and the lava is going to destroy it, that is the greatest misfortune because there should be no human losses unless there are intrepid [stupid] people out there," he stressed.

Will the orography change?

Likewise, he doubts that the eruption will change the orography of La Palma. "The island has been made by thousands of volcanic eruptions, what is going to be added is a little more layer, the only thing is that if the lava reaches the sea, the island could be extended a few more square meters", he highlighted. 

Los expertos revelan cuándo se podrá predecir la duración de la erupción en La Palma y cuál será el "chivato"