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RIP Canary Islands as volcano erupts?

Montaña Rajada, in El Paso on the island of La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain), taken by the Interreg EELabs project camera, from the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Garafía, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias), looking towards the Caldera de Taburiente and the south of the island.

The worst thing I did the day after the eruption began was read some of the comments (in three languages) alongside La Vanguardia's live reporting of the La Palma eruption. I'll not bore you with the totally irrelevant ones, but one, in Spanish perfectly summarized a lot of them, "erupciona un volcán y salen un montón de locos a anunciar el fin del mundo" (a volcano erupts and a mountain of idiots come out to announce the end of the world). Far from it, but tiny inconveniences like facts aren't going to get in the way of such people's opinions these days.

And one comment, in English, really did say "RIP Canary Islands". [Thumps head against laptop.] Hello! The Canary Islands were formed by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. "The Canary Islands and some seamounts to the north-east form the Canary Volcanic Province whose volcanic history started about 70 million years ago." This eruption isn't going to kill / destroy the Canary Islands.

It won't even change the orography of La Palma. The island ended up a little bit bigger as the lava reached the sea, as it did after the last eruption in 1971. And as Sheila Crosby pointed out, "This is a small volcano, as volcanoes go." 

It was mentioned in the news coverage that some media outlets had been using misleading headlines and, frankly, I'm surprised that the Daily Mail didn't do their usual "Holiday Chaos as Tourists Flee Volcanic Eruption ..." as though throwing themselves into the sea. Or maybe they did, or maybe the 500 tourists who have been evacuated on La Palma were not British enough for them. 

The situation in the area of ​​La Palma affected by the eruption "is devastating", because "a lava flow with an average height of six meters literally eats away homes, infrastructures, crops that it finds on its way to the coast of the valley of Aridane”, explained the president of the Cabildo, Mariano Hernández Zapata.

Of course the material losses are devastating for those who have lost homes, but it should be seen as more of a success than of disaster: people had been prepared and knew about packing their Armageddon-out-of-here bag(TM); the experts were able to predict almost to the millimetre where the eruption would occur, and when. It could have been much worse, but was never going to destroy the Canary Islands.

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