Sunday, December 26, 2021

The eruption on La Palma is over

Photo: Gobierno de Canarias

The Minister of Public Administrations, Justice and Security of the Government of the Canary Islands, responsible for the operation and, director of PEVOLCA, Julio Pérez, announced, this Saturday, 25 December, the completion of the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, on the island of La Palma, following 10 days of no lava flows, after 85 days. 

All the indicators of volcanic activity on La Palma corroborated the signs of exhaustion to end the eruption in Cumbre Vieja, which began on 19 September.

Pérez appeared after the daily meeting of Pevolca accompanied by the spokesperson of the Steering Committee of the Special Plan for Civil Protection and Attention to Emergencies due to Volcanic Risk (PEVOLCA), Miguel Ángel Morcuende, as well as a spokesperson for the Scientific Committee, María José White, among others. In his appearance he has admitted that after this "volcanic autumn" that began on September 19 and has remained until December 13, 85 days, in which this situation has been a "priority" of the Canarian Government and said that they feel "relief" because now they will be able to dedicate themselves "fully" to the rehabilitation of the destroyed areas.

This is not the end of the emergency. The counsellor has indicated that the Pevolca plan will continue "at red alert", since as long as danger remains, it must be kept activated. He has indicated that "gases, ashes and heat" continue to exist, therefore they are the risks that remain, although he has pointed out that unlike the eruption, which was unknown when it could conclude, those risks are known and that they will be concluding.

On Monday, the relocation plan will begin to be studied, which "will have to be safe and orderly, gradual", advancing that the forecast is that in the first half of January they can agree to some relocations and try to see how to re-establish some essential services. Pérez stressed that, for this reason, they will not leave from La Palma, because the de-escalation must be anticipated carefully, although he admits that the rhythm will be different and the priorities will be different, but the plan will remain active after what he has described as the greatest catastrophe in the Canary Islands and the longest eruption in the archipelago.

The cone of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, is about 200 meters to about 1,100 meters above sea level, and in it there are six craters. In this process, 9,090 earthquakes have been registered, with the highest magnitude of 5, registered on November 19, at 01:08 am, at a depth of 33 kilometres. There remain remnants of seismic activity that can last for months, as happened in Tagoro, in El Hierro, which continued for two years.