New, stunning images of the volcano eruption in Spain

A more explosive phase
The awakening of mount Cumbre Vieja
Canary Islands on high alert
Lava, ash, smoke
Homes destroyed
Destruction of island infrastructure
Changes in its geography
Metres-high magma streams
Fire moving towards residencies
6,000 evacuated
Magma approaching houses
Tragedy in Todoque
Residents lost everything
Unforeseen event
Last-minute evacuations
Take what you can
Movers
A shocking event on film
Local media followed it from the start
More than 25,000 earthquakes in 10 days
4.1 magnitude
A new lava exit point
Nine exit points
Southern part of La Palma
Rivers of lava
Direction: towards the sea
Harmful gases
Houses in the backdrop of molten rock
Previous eruption was 50 years ago
Beware: dangerous gases
Sulfur dioxide
When will the nightmare end?
Air traffic
Canceled flights
Prime Minister on alert
Concerns go as far as Brazil
Threat to other shores
A more explosive phase

The Cumbre Vieja volcano, erupting since last Sunday on the island of La Palma (Spain), has entered a more explosive phase. The National Geographic Institute reports that lava is being expelled with force at a height of 400 metres (1,300 feet).

The awakening of mount Cumbre Vieja

More than three hundred buildings have already been swallowed by rivers of magma from the volcano, according to the European Space Agency's Copernicus program.

 

Canary Islands on high alert

La Palma, one of Spain's Canary Islands off the coast of the Western Sahara, has had to evacuate more than 6,000 people due to the eruption.

Lava, ash, smoke

The volcano began to erupt at 15:01 on Sunday, September 19. It started spewing out lava, ash and a huge column of smoke after days of increased seismic activity.

(Images: Getty)

Homes destroyed

The mayor of El Paso, the town where the volcano stands, has told Canarias Radio that the homes overflowed by the volcano's lava "disappear completely."

 

Destruction of island infrastructure

Hundreds of cultivated areas and several roads have also been destroyed. Unfortunately, nothing can be done to prevent the passage of this burning material.

Changes in its geography

A total of 154 hectares of the island of La Palma have already been covered by lava. According to the National Geographic Institute, it is possible that over time the island will grow in size and change in structure. Areas that were once flat are now covered by a mountain of burning ash.

Metres-high magma streams

Images of the devastating path left by the magma, which reaches a height of 6 or 7 metres (23 ft), have flooded the country's media.

 

Fire moving towards residencies

As the lava reaches the towns of the island, scenes of panic and hasty evacuations follow.

6,000 evacuated

More than 6,000 people have been evacuated.

Magma approaching houses

There is a risk that the lava will reach many more homes before ending in the sea.

Tragedy in Todoque

This woman of the urban nucleus of Todoque cries during the eviction of her house before the approach of the lava of the volcano.

Residents lost everything

Both residents and tourists have had to leave most of their belongings behind.

Unforeseen event

An eruption of this magnitude had not been foreseen, causing many people to flee their homes at the last minute.

Last-minute evacuations

Forced to abandon their homes, the residents of La Palma occupy the roads with their cars full of what they have been able to gather in such a short time.

Take what you can

In the towns further away from the volcano, residents have had a little more time to collect their belongings.

Movers

Here, firefighters and municipal workers help in shipping people's furniture and personal artefacts.

A shocking event on film

The images left by the eruption of Cumbre Vieja are shocking and intimidating.

 

Local media followed it from the start

A mild earthquake preceded an explosion that some media outlets captured live. Then, the volcano began to spew lava and create a cloud of intense, infinite smoke.

More than 25,000 earthquakes in 10 days

Before the volcano erupted, thousands of earthquakes had been felt on the island. The shocks had started on September 11.

 

4.1 magnitude

On the night of September 21, some of the island's municipalities felt a 4.1 magnitude earthquake.

"Replicas of earthquakes"

The National Geographic Institute says that, since the eruption, everything has indicated that the earthquakes are stopping. What remains are replicas of earthquakes, and they are of decreasing magnitude.

A new lava exit point

In Tacande, an area of the municipality of El Paso, a new eruption mouth appeared on Tuesday, raising alarm among the local authorities.

Nine exit points

The volcano's explosion had already opened eight vents before another one appeared two days later.

 

Southern part of La Palma

Cumbre Vieja straddles a ridge in the south of La Palma island. The initial blast occurred between Montaña Rajada and Cabeza de Vaca, in the highest part of the city of El Paso.

Rivers of lava

The Vulcanological Institute of the Canary Islands has analysed the lava exit points to try to divert its path and minimize damage as far as possible.

Direction: towards the sea

The authorities are keeping a close eye on what could happen when the lava reaches the sea, which is expected in the next hours.

 

Harmful gases

Some experts worry about explosions or harmful gas emissions once the magma hits the water.

Houses in the backdrop of molten rock

The width of the “rivers of lava” is 40 or 50 meters (130 to 165 feet). They come awfully close to an increasing number of homes.

Previous eruption was 50 years ago

The Cumbre Vieja erupted twice in the 20th century, first in 1949 then again in 1971.

Photo: 112 Canarias

Beware: dangerous gases

Obviously, the directions to the locals are clear: do not approach the eruption area. It is extremely dangerous to inhale the gases released by the eruption.

Sulfur dioxide

It is estimated that between 6,000 and 9,000 tons of sulfur dioxide will be emitted daily into the atmosphere.

When will the nightmare end?

The question everyone is asking now is: how long will the volcano continue to erupt? The experts' response doesn't contain many guarantees.

Photo: Civil Guard of Spain

"Days, weeks..."

"We are in the first phase of the volcano's eruption," Geology professor José Mangas from the University of Las Palmas told the channel TVE. "It could be days, weeks… This is just the beginning."

Air traffic

According to Mario Otero, airport director of the Canary Islands at the Spanish airport association AENA, air traffic is currently being monitored and limited.

Canceled flights

The ash cloud heads towards the south of the island. Some flights from the company Binter to the island of Gomera, also part of the archipelago, have already been cancelled.

Prime Minister on alert

The Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, is there to closely monitor developments. He guaranteed the Government's support to replace all losses: "We have all the instruments, all the troops. The citizens of La Palma can rest assured."

Photo: Spanish Air Force

Concerns go as far as Brazil

A few days ago, experts warned that there was a remote possibility that the intensity of seismic movements in the Canary Islands could cause tsunamis in some places on the Brazilian coast, more than 4,000 km (2,500 miles) away. The repercussions of the Cumbre Vieja's eruption could therefore reach far beyond the Canary Islands.

Photo: Pedro Sánchez

Threat to other shores

There have also been hypotheses of the magma's impact into the ocean causing a tsunami that could reach Spain, Portugal, northern Africa, and even the U.S. east coast. Read more about that theory here.

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