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La Palma Volcano Continues Destruction After Almost 12 Weeks Of Activity

            The Cumbre Vieja volcano, which resides on La Palma (one of the smallest of Spain’s Canary Islands), first erupted on Sept. 19th, almost 12 weeks ago. So far, the eruption has destroyed around 2,800 buildings, and the lava flow covers just under 1,200 hectares (almost 3,000 acres) of land. About ⅓ of the damage has been caused to banana and avocado farmland, which will severely hurt the country’s economy, according to CNN. In a report by IGN, there have been an estimated 32 earthquakes on La Palma in the last 24 hours alone.

            On the fourth day of eruptions and earthquakes (Sept. 23rd), AS.com conducted an interview with Vicente Soler, a volcanologist of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). Soler and his team deduced that the volcano’s activity at the time was “strong because the deformation of the terrain remains intact, i.e. the pressure in the system feeding the volcano is very high.” Now 10 weeks on, it seems the same can be said. Earthquakes continue, and lava flows have reached the Atlantic Ocean on the island’s west coast, adding to the coastline a total of 48 hectares (48 acres) and counting.

            No eruption of Cumbre Vieja has lasted less than 24 hours in the past, so the current activity is not unusual. The only wonder is when the lava flows will stop. An image taken by the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain (IGME) on Dec. 5th shows a large crack appearing on the main cone; it is unknown whether it will or will not fully collapse. Although parts of the cone have fallen apart already, scientists claim this is normal and not worrisome.

            After eruptions in 1949 and 1971, this is the first of Cumbre Vieja to be “properly monitored” thanks to revolutionary advancements in volcanology.


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