October 24, 2021

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Canary Islands: Volcanoes erupt into the sea, pushing toxic gases into the sea

Lava from the Cumbre Viza volcano joins the sea off La Palma Island, Canary Islands, Spain on September 29, 2021 (AFP / Sunsets Sweden)

Lava from the Cumbre Viza volcano joins the sea off La Palma Island, Canary Islands, Spain on September 29, 2021 (AFP / Sunsets Sweden)

The volcanic lava flowed into the Atlantic Wednesday afternoon from a volcano that erupted ten days ago on the Spanish Canary archipelago of La Palma, but the wind pushed the toxic gases out into the sea, thus protecting, for the time being, a local population.

Pictures of Playa Nueva on the west coast of the island showed lava sinking into the sea amid steamy oceans 100 meters from the top of the cliff.

The Spanish Maritime Research Institute tweeted, with supporting images, that the lava is landing in the ocean, forming a kind of deposit, a pyramid, in the water of its accumulation, growing to a height of about fifty meters and more.

The most important hazard is the toxic gases, which are caused by sudden contact between a lava and seawater at a temperature of 1,000 degrees Celsius and 22 or 23 degrees, are immediately removed by the wind. Given the fact that it does not change direction …

– Terrible encounter –

“Strong winds are blowing over the ocean (gas clouds) at the moment, so the risk is much lower,” Ruben Fernandez told National Radio. Canary Islands Volcano Emergency Project (Bevolka).

Lava development on Palma Island in the Canary Islands, Spain on September 23, 2021 (Poolpool / Raman de la Rocha)

Lava development on Palma Island in the Canary Islands, Spain on September 23, 2021 (Poolpool / Raman de la Rocha)

This encounter between the volcano and the seawater was particularly frightening because it leads to the production of toxic gases and harmful particles.

“Inhalation or contact with acidic gases and liquids can irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory tract, and cause difficulty breathing,” the Volcanic Canary Islands (Involcan) warned.

To prevent this danger, the archipelago’s regional government expects a volcanic eruption of 3.5 km in area and a perimeter of two nautical miles in the sea.

The volcano entered the sea shortly after 11:00 pm (Tuesday 22:00 GMT) local time on Tuesday, after the Gumbre Viza volcano suddenly accelerated its speed.

On September 19 the volcano erupted.

Gumbre Viza erupts on La Palma Island, Canary Islands, Spain on September 23, 2021 (Poolpool / Raman de la Rocha)

Gumbre Viza erupts on La Palma Island, Canary Islands, Spain on September 23, 2021 (Poolpool / Raman de la Rocha)

“The volcano now has an open canal to the sea …

He saw it as “good news” because this road to the sea “avoids the presence of new barriers, new volcanic dams”, forcing it to spread sideways to other areas.

In these ten days, the volcanic river destroyed everything in its path – buildings, fields, roads … – causing the destruction and despair of a good portion of the population of this small island, estimated at about 85,000.

Where is the volcano from Gumbre Viza volcano La Palma, Canary Islands (AFP /)

Where is the volcano from Gumbre Viza volcano La Palma, Canary Islands (AFP /)

In an interview with Cope Radio, Angel Vector Torres, the head of the archipelago’s regional government, spoke of “terrible destruction.”

Because this number will be too high and will leave traces of disaster.

“Residents who have lost their homes (…) need to be taken care of first because they need to absorb the fact that they have lost their homes, and for many of them their livelihoods,” Mr Torres continued.

– “Another Island” –

He drew a picture of an island completely destroyed by a volcanic river six hundred meters wide. “There is nothing but lava in this whole area,” he said. “La Palma Island in this area is another island”.

The volcanic eruption entered the sea just hours after the government released 10.5 million euros in direct aid to the victims on Tuesday.

The volcano destroyed at least 656 buildings – all of which were not houses – and covered 268 hectares of land.

Gumbre Viza erupts on September 27, 2021 on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain (AFP / Desiree MARTIN)

Gumbre Viza erupts on September 27, 2021 on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain (AFP / Desiree MARTIN)

Mr Torres also said banana plantations – the island’s main activity with tourism – had suffered “significant damage”. “We are talking about one-third of all canaries’ banana production, ”he said.

No one was killed or injured in the blast, but more than 6,000 people were evacuated from their homes.

Two previous eruptions in La Palma occurred in 1949 and 1971. They killed a total of three people, two of them by gas inhalation.

Bur- CHZ / ial /

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