La Palma volcano: Lava 'tsunami' as earthquake intensifies eruption

Huge lava rivers flow in La Palma
Huge lava rivers flow in La Palma Copyright Credit: Canary Islands Volcanology Institute
Copyright Credit: Canary Islands Volcanology Institute
By Euronews
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Huge rivers of molten rock have been spewing from the crater in recent days.


Experts have described the latest volcanic activity on La Palma as a "tsunami of lava".

Huge rivers of molten rock have been spewing from the crater in recent days after a 4.5-magnitude earthquake shook the island on Thursday and intensified flows.

The quake is the strongest recorded since the Cumbre Vieja volcano -- on the island of La Palma in the Spanish Canary Islands -- began erupting almost a month ago.

"Today one of our crew was able to film a truly lava 'tsunami'. Amazing speed and overflow of the lava channel," said the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute, publishing the footage, which is included below.

Lava rolling toward the Atlantic Ocean forced the evacuation of more than 300 people late on Thursday, bringing the number of people forced from their homes since Tuesday to 1,200, according to the La Palma government. About 7,000 people in all have had to flee since the eruption, the government said.

Authorities have reported no casualties from the eruption on the island of some 85,000 people.

Most of the island, where the economy is based mostly on farming and tourism, has been unaffected so far.

Two main rivers of lava were still flowing from the Cumbre Vieja ridge on Friday. The initial one has slowed to a virtual stop, but a second one is spewing a large amount of molten rock and compelling authorities to stay alert for further possible evacuations.

The volcano has coughed up ocean sediment that pre-dates the island’s formation 2 million years ago, Vicente Soler of Spain’s Higher Center for Scientific Research said.

The lava has fully or partially destroyed more than 1,500 buildings, most of them homes, and covered more than 680 hectares, according to an EU satellite monitoring agency.

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