A volcano on the Canary Island of La Palma erupted at 5:00 a.m. local time this morning, according to reports from the National Geographic Society and El País newspaper in Spain. The eruption has been classified as being of “moderate” intensity by emergency officials, but it is still unclear what effect it will have on the island’s tourism industry as well as its residents.
A team from the National Geographic Society is currently on La Palma and has witnessed a large column of smoke rising from the Cumbre Vieja volcano, accompanied by a loud detonation. Francisco Padrón Girado, director of emergency management for La Palma, told El País newspaper that while there was some lava activity, the strength of the eruption was much lower than experienced during previous eruptions. However, as a result of earlier eruptions, there is concern that another eruption would cause part of the Cumbre Vieja to collapse and send a large wave toward the coasts of North Africa and southern Spain.
Despite these concerns, experts believe that such an event is unlikely to occur, and that any such wave would be too small to cause major damage. Nevertheless, local authorities imposed a ban on access to the island’s beaches in order to prevent people from entering danger areas.
Volcanic eruptions are not rare occurrences in the Canary Islands, which lie along the African-Eurasian tectonic plate boundary. The most powerful eruption to occur here in recorded history occurred on the neighbouring island of Tenerife and took place in 1712. Known as the Great Eruption, these events formed a 1.5-kilometre caldera known as Las Cañadas.
Last month, Iceland experienced one of its largest volcanic eruptions in recent years, sending a cloud of ash into the atmosphere that disrupted international air travel.
Hello! I am an environmental geographer who has recently moved to Spain after completing my PhD at the University of Exeter, UK. I have always had a strong interest in volcanoes and am looking forward to exploring some of Spain’s many wonderful peaks. If you are new to this blog do subscribe using the link on the right so you never miss an update!
I will be adding new entries on a regular basis, but in the meantime if you are interested in learning more about Spanish volcanoes then please check out my website Central Clear C.
Some of the images featured on this blog have been kindly provided by NASA’s Earth Observatory . The images are from their Landsat mission which is used to monitor natural resources, climate change and natural hazards. If you would like to use any of these images for educational/journalistic purposes please contact them for permission. Thank you.
For a list of Spanish volcanoes and their latest status, check out the website Volcano World ! This site is run by the Geological Survey of Spain and has regular updates on all major eruptions as well as a good description of volcanic processes and a FAQ section. The site is in Spanish, but there are links to other language versions at the bottom.
This blog is not affiliated with either Volcano World or NASA’s Earth Observatory. All views expressed on this blog are my own unless otherwise stated. In terms of content all information provided is publicly available and no content is knowingly untruthful or inaccurate.
The title of this blog is inspired by the work of the French volcanologist, Bernard Chouet , who was one of my PhD supervisors and a major influence on my research.