The La Palma volcano changes shape: the new secondary cone threatens new inhabited areas | Society

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The La Palma volcano mutates under the watchful eye of scientists, who follow its evolution and go through an intermittent phase. The leading role has been taken by the secondary cone that emerged last Sunday in the northeastern part of the volcano, which is the one that is vomiting tongues of lava that surround the mountain and descend in a northwesterly direction. The main cone, active since the eruption began, emits pyroclasts intermittently. It also expels lava, although it does so through volcanic tubes.

More than twenty mouths or fissures have been responsible for expelling volcanic material since the volcano emerged, on September 19. Fortunately, most of these emission centers are born and die. On Monday, in fact, “all the eruptive centers became inactive,” the scientific spokesperson for the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca), María José Blanco, reported on Tuesday. All of them, fortunately, have occurred within the two and a half kilometers of perimeter in which the exclusion zone has been set.

The new contributions of lava from the secondary cone are flowing to the north of the eruption, “occupying mainly surface on previous flows,” says Blanco. These flows run “either glued to the previous casting, or riding on the previous casting,” said the technical director of Pevolca, Miguel Ángel Morcuende. “The overflow of the laundry further north is the one that is worrying us the most. It moves in the direction of Tajuya [el punto predilecto de observación del volcán por científicos y turistas] and the neighborhood of La Laguna ”. The lava tongue is located one kilometer from this town. Morcuende has explained that, for now, no new evacuations are necessary. These flows have barely advanced 100 meters during the night.

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Itahiza Domínguez, a seismologist at the National Geographic Institute (IGN), said this afternoon that “ideally” would be for the secondary cone of the La Palma volcano to stop having activity, given the orientation of the flows it has formed, which threaten to do more havoc. “But, at the moment, there are no indications,” he adds. “We do not know how long the emission will last” in that new cone, although a priori “it seems that it may last a while.”

For now, the lava from the volcano has covered 1,147.7 hectares, 348.8 of them for agricultural use. It has also created new territory reclaimed from the sea: the southernmost lava delta, created as of September 28, already measures 43.4 hectares. The new one, located a little further north, reached five hectares three days ago. The lava has so far swallowed 1,548 buildings, of which 1,242 are for residential use, according to data from the Cadastre.

Seismicity on the rise

Seismicity, meanwhile, does not give up on the island. “Seismicity at intermediate depths (between 10 and 15 kilometers) continues to increase in the last 24 hours,” said María José Blanco. The National Geographic Institute (IGN) has located since last midnight and until 3:00 p.m. local time, about 200 earthquakes on La Palma, movements that have increased considerably.

The new mouths emerged on Sunday, photographed on Monday afternoon.
The new mouths emerged on Sunday, photographed on Monday afternoon.MIGUEL CALERO (EFE)

Thus, this rise in seismicity has been noted mainly in the municipality of Fuencaliente, where there have been several earthquakes with magnitudes from 3 to 3.8 and intensities between III and IV. The maximum magnitude, 4.2, has been from an event registered this Tuesday in this municipality at 10.54, felt with an intensity of IV at a depth of 13 kilometers. This, in fact, has become the main tremor recorded at intermediate depth since the beginning of the eruption. Intensity measures how citizens and infrastructures perceive each movement. The European scale that scales it, known as EMS-98, goes from I to XII, and is made through surveys of people who have perceived the earthquake.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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