Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

Volcanic ash cloud closes La Palma airport as new vent emerges

October 4, 2021

The airport in La Palma, Spain, has been closed owing to ash from a new volcanic vent that erupted on Saturday

According to scientists, another vent has opened up on Cumbre Vieja, the volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma that has been erupting for a week, putting tens of thousands of island residents in danger.
On Saturday, the airport was closed due to a cloud of ash billowing from it. The eruption, which began on September 19, has intensified in recent days, causing the evacuation of three more villages on the island, which is part of Spain’s Canary Islands archipelago off the coast of northwest Africa.

Lava rivers have been slithering down the mountainside, destroying everything in their path, including hundreds of homes, on their way to the island’s southwestern coast. On Friday, emergency teams withdrew from the volcano after explosions spewed molten rock and ash across a large area. Almost 7,000 individuals have been displaced from their homes. The current volcanic eruption on La Palma, which has an estimated population of 85,000 people, is the first since 1971.

Lava rivers have tumbled down the mountainside toward the island’s southwestern coast, destroying everything in their path, including hundreds of homes. However, the rate of flow has slowed significantly, and the lava is now hardly moving ahead, with roughly 2 kilometres to go before it reaches the sea, according to Miguel ngel Morcuende, head of the Canary Island Volcanic Emergency Plan. In a press conference, Morcuende said, “I don’t dare to tell you when it’ll get there, nor do I dare to offer a forecast.” The massive ash cloud rising from the volcano and being blown by the wind to other sections of the island is a more immediate concern for the residents of La Palma. Volcanic ash, he warned, can harm people’s airways, lungs, and eyes in addition to posing a serious threat to aviation. Residents in impacted areas have been advised by the local administration to avoid going outside unless they are wearing masks and goggles.