New lava flow arises: Strong earthquake shakes La Palma

A relaxation of the situation on La Palma is still not in sight. On the contrary: the earth is shaking again on the island. This time stronger than it has been since the volcanic eruption two and a half weeks ago. In addition, a new lava flow is created – and affects previously spared areas.

A relatively strong earthquake and a new lava flow are causing new unrest on the volcanic island of La Palma. With a magnitude of 4.3, the tremor was the most violent since the volcanic eruption two and a half weeks ago on the Canary Island, said the Spanish Seismological Institute.

The quake was felt by many of the 85,000 inhabitants of La Palma, but it took place at a depth of around 35 kilometers and therefore does not pose a great risk to volcanic activity, said experts quoted by the media. Damage was initially not reported.

In the meantime, according to the regional authorities, a tributary of the lava was created. Areas previously spared have been affected, but are not very large. Plantation workers and scientists, however, should have been brought to safety in a hurry, it said.

Air traffic interrupted

Because of volcanic ash, the Air traffic to the island suspended indefinitely, as the airport operator Aena announced. The airlines Binter and Canaryfly had announced the day before that they would no longer fly to the island from Thursday. The only option left for travelers was the sea route. The ferries take about four hours to the next larger neighboring island of Tenerife, where air traffic ran normally.

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Authorities called on people near the volcano to stay home because of the ash rain and to wear FFP2 masks and goggles outdoors. The ashes are small splinters of cold magma that the volcano has thrown into the air and that can be felt on the skin like fine pinpricks, as the newspaper “La Vanguardia” reported.

The volcano Cumbre Vieja in the south of the island, which was previously less known to tourists than other Canary Islands such as Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria or Lanzarote, erupted on September 19th for the first time in 50 years. How long he would remain active, volcanologists could not say. It could take months, they said. According to official reports, the lava has destroyed more than 1,000 buildings since the eruption began. Around 6,000 people were brought to safety. There is great damage to agriculture and infrastructure.