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The Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands, concerned about the situation in La Palma

Grecia De Flores
5 min read

Sunday was an unforgettable day for many of the workers at the Instituto Vulcanológico de Canarias, better known as Involcan. All this due to the recent volcanic eruption that took place there, an event that had not been seen in Spain for 50 years.

The volcanologist David Calvo assured local and international media that until that day "we have not been prophets in our land." Speaking from a scientific point of view, this is a unique event, which, however, is bitter to live, given the number of people who have lost their homes.

Since the volcano erupted last Sunday, the lava blankets that have begun to descend the slopes of the municipality of El Paso have begun to advance disproportionately at about 0.7 kilometers per hour, which has left us with multiple images spectacular on their passage in the area.

However, it is important to note that La Palma is currently experiencing its eighth volcano since historical records of them are known.

Lava is one of the main concerns of the authorities, since the main goal is to prevent victims from occurring, in addition to preventing this from affecting the material assets of all citizens as little as possible. However, little can be done due to the advance of the lava, for which the Civil Guard calculated that it will be necessary to evacuate 5,000 and 10,000 people, a process that is also underway to avoid further chaos.

The Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands, concerned about the situation in La Palma

Diverse are the volcanologists who remember how in countries like Iceland containment barriers have been created, with various stone mounds which have great height and width, with which it has been avoided that the lava does not go down some valleys of the towns. However, carrying out this task will not be easy due to various factors, as it would be fighting against nature.

What is the prediction for the evolution of the La Palma volcano in the following days?

Scientists from Involcan who have stood out in the area, have carried out different evaluations in which they have been able to take different thermal images of the flows and thus be able to determine that they have a temperature of 1,075 degrees Celsius. This means that they are in a single crack with 8 eruptive mouths, which it is believed could be quite stable, although they also expect that during the first hours there will be some significant changes in terms of its activity. However, it is important to note that the first hours of it are usually very important, but it is quite common for the activity of the same to begin to concentrate and thus stabilize.

Experts have assured that this eruption is quite similar to the eruption seen in 1971 in which we were able to see various mouths that helped to concentrate their activity within the crater. However, what makes them doubt is the volume of lava that is seen within this initial phase, which can last many hours and even several days.

In this way the neighbors who live in the area will be able to be much calmer, since the seismic activity of the same will decrease.

How long is the La Palma volcano expected to last?

These are just the moments of greatest activity in the phase, since it is the right moment in which the energy is released immediately. Once this is finished, we will enter the phase in which the volcano will begin to emit lava until the moment when it is completely empty, so it is not expected that there will be a transition to a much more explosive phase.

It is quite likely that the duration of this is short, it can be from a few weeks to even a few months.

Involcan has made several interesting calculations about the volcano's activity, among which it has been calculated that there are 11 million cubic meters of lava, which are under the volcano that is still active. However, this is a fairly important volume, from which it must be determined even if there is some other type of material, which has not yet completely come out.

The volcano has emitted between 6,000 and 9,000 tons of sulfur dioxide

Involcan has made a first estimate, in which he talks about the exact number of sulfur dioxide (SO2) that has been emitted into the atmosphere, all this thanks to the eruptive process inside Cumbre Vieja on La Palma, just one day from its explosion.

This first estimate has helped the experts to know the exact amount of emotions that have been produced from the 6,000 and 9,000 tons per day, to which it is assumed that the wind has been traveling with them for around 3,000 meters during the period. afternoon of September 19, to which is added an intensity of around 2.8 - 4.2 meters per second.

The estimates have been made from the ground, however, as of today these measurements will begin to be made in the air in conjunction with the Helicopter Unit of the Civil Guard of Tenerife, as well as the submarine eruption of El Hierro.