La Palma eruption – July 2023

La Palma eruption – July 2023

Monthly summary


  • New field techniques investigated: A group of GeoIntern students from GeoTenerife under the leadership of Professor David Foster and postgrad student Danilo Cruz of the University of Florida have been testing a portable XRF on the flows of Tajogaite volcano to assess its potential for rapid use in the field to identify trace elements in the lava which could help scientists to acquire reliable data on eruption evolution in situ in seconds without hammering or crushing any samples in just two minutes. The equipment was found to be highly accurate and findings will be written up and published shortly.
  • New changes in lava composition investigated: A team lead by the Universities of Queensland and Adelaide in collaboration with UCM, IGME and Telesforo Bravo foundation have found a change in composition on the 25th November may have previewed the volcano’s waning phase, as it sampled different pockets of magma.
  • Lava delta erosion: New research from the University of Las Palmas Gran Canaria has found that the 34 new ‘beaches’ formed by the erosion of the lava deltas formed very quickly, in some areas forming in only 24-48 hours after the stabilisation of the lava flow fronts.
  • Gases in Puerto Naos and La Bombilla: High CO2 concentrations continue to keep Puerto Naos and La Bombilla evacuated, with residents still only allowed back for a few hours at a time to perform maintenance tasks, supervised by authorities. The Cabildo has now begun studying ‘relaxing’ measures in the area, including the purchase of 200 additional gas sensors to be installed in August, and forced extraction measures. This complements additional warnings through an app and PA system. The state has also assured all the resources to the reconstruction commission for installation of forced ventilation pipes in >300 areas where they are considered needed.
  • €3 million for CO2 surveillance: IGN has received €3 million for a collaborative network to measure and control CO2 levels in La Bombilla and Puerto Naos, which they hope will help authorities make decisions about the habitability of these areas. The budget is for the period 2023-2026 and will be shared with INVOLCAN.
  • 800-page monograph: The General Council of Notaries has dedicated an 850-page monograph to the 2021 eruption on La Palma, containing 200 scientific, legal, historical and opinion articles.
  • Fluid movements before the eruption: New work by PhD student Iván Cabrera-Pérez of INVOLCAN  in collaboration with ISTerre (France), IMO (Iceland) and institutions from Russia, Spain and Japan, has used the technique seismic noise interferometry to track the movements of fluids below La Palma daily in the week leading up to the eruption at around 4 km depth. The results indicate fluid movement towards the area of the eruption and coinciding with earthquake locations in the days before the eruption. It is thought the signals picked up relate to hydrothermal fluids rather than magma, and in future this technique may be incorporated into early warning systems.
  • Ash impacts on health: Research by David Wertheim at Kingston University along with ITER, INVOLCAN and other British collaborators have revealed the toxicology of the volcanic ash in La Palma. They found that the shape and composition of the ash will cause adverse effects on respiratory health.


  • 7 month delay for €100 million from Spanish Government: Sergio Rodríguez, President of La Palma, has demanded the Government of Spain to pay their promised €100 million in aid, which they have been waiting 7 months for, since it was included in the general state budget.
  • General aid extended: Some of the support measures have been extended for 6 months in the anti-crisis aid decree validated on the 26th July by congress. Among the support measures extended include the suspension of interest payments on mortgages.
  • Calls for National Park aid: The municipality of El Paso has announced subsidies aimed at recovering areas in the Caldera de Taburiente National Park that suffered socio-economic losses during the eruption. The period for applications is open until September 25th and will be processed by the Ministry of Ecological Transition, Climate Change and Planning of the Government of the Canary Islands.
  • Call to modify the bases for aid: PSOE representatives have requested Los Llanos city council to modify the bases for aid, in particular extending the deadline for submitting claims and clarifying the criteria for receiving aid. They have highlighted that this City Council has had this aid for over a year, yet in some cases only gives claimants 10 days to provide the relevant documentation.
  • Faster funds: Los Llanos city council have accelerated the distribution of aid, according to mayor Javier Llamas. Part of this example was mobilizing a €1.5 million aid grant which was first paid in May 2022, but to date only €400,000 of it had been paid.
  • Aid for second homes: A period of 20 days has opened for those affected to request aid for the loss of a second home or non-hotel tourist accommodation, with €4.5 million allocated to this call. The municipality of El Paso previously announced similar aid in May.
  • Farm, business and real estate aid: Los Llanos de Aridane has opened a period to request direct aid for the losses of farms, businesses and real estate due to the volcano. Of an initial budget of €1.1 million, €950,000 remains, and the call remains open for 10 business days from the 24th July.


  • Volcano Law reaches 13,000 signatures: The ‘Volcano Law’, a citizen-lead law to guarantee legal protection to the population in the face of volcanic eruptions in the Canary Islands, has collected 13,000 of the 15,000 signatures it needs in order to be considered, in the first month since signatures began being collected. It is currently collecting signatures in Tenerife, and hopes to visit all the Canary Islands, with only La Gomera and El Hierro to go.
  • Reconstruction decree laws: The platform for those affected by the eruption has urged the new government to approve the decree laws for the reconstruction of residential areas and agricultural lands. These are both currently being debated, with the former on its 8th version, having been debated for over 1 year. The latest versions are said to include positive measures such as the ability for residents to voluntarily sell properties destroyed by the volcano for the market price before the eruption. They may also allow farmers to reconstitute their plantations or alternatively give them up for compensation. The agricultural decree was finalised on the 10th July.
  • Recovery of the banana sector: Europlátano has announced improvements in the recovery of the banana sector on La Palma. Production is still around 60,000 tons less than 2021, although they have sold 48% more in the first half of 2023 compared to 2022, which was their worst year on record. Additionally, the recent permits to rebuild farms inundated by the lava flows should help this, currently 6 hectares are being reconditioned, or 3% of the total agricultural area lost during the eruption.
  • Renewable recovery: The La Palma Renewables association has put their case forward for recovering from the volcano using renewable energy, which currently only makes up 2% of La Palma’s energy mix. The best candidates for La Palma would be solar, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal if it can be proven viable.

Other updates: 

  • Large destructive forest fire in northern La Palma: Between 14th-22th July, a large forest fire spread across northern La Palma from the town of Puntagorda to Tijarafe and the Caldera Taburiente. In total, it has affected 2,900 hectares of land, and vineyards along with 60 buildings have been affected, although no injuries have been reported. Useful threads of information about the fire and links to official information are available at and
  • Coastal pipeline investigation: The general director of Coasts and Coastal Management for the Canary Islands Government, is considering details of the allegations of improper practices by the Cabildo de La Palma during the construction of the Las Hoyas-El Remo coastal pipeline on the largest lava delta. This was first reported by the Provincial Coastal authority, who suggested a €1.7 million fine, and this Canary Islands Government will be investigating these further from a legal perspective.

Sources: La Palma Ahora, Cabildo de La Palma, El Time, ABC España, El Valle de Aridane

News articles

La Palma AhoraThe Volcanoes Law already has 4,000 supports and in the first week of July signatures will be collected in 8 municipalities of La Palma and 3 of Tenerife here

El Valle de Aridane – The doctor removed from PEINPAL after defending the return to Puerto Naos returns to advise the Cabildo with the new island government – here

El Valle de Aridane – The Government of Torres says goodbye with another draft -and there are already 8- of the decree law to rebuild the houses that the volcano destroyed – here

La Palma Ahora – The Volcanoes Law promoted by those affected by the eruption of La Palma already reaches 10,000 signatures and the collection of support reaches Fuerteventura and Lanzarote here

La Palma Ahora – Sustainability leaders from 14 countries and international experts design proposals for the development of La Palma after the eruptionhere

El Time – Sergio Rodríguez demands 100 million from the Government of Spain for La Palma after seven months of waitinghere

La Palma Ahora – The central government awards a grant of 1.5 million to the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands to deploy a CO2 monitoring network on La Palmahere

La Palma Ahora – The Cabildo studies “relaxing” measures for access to Puerto Naos and La Bombilla “with security” here

El Valle de Aridane – Outrage over the fines of up to 750 euros to residents who entered Puerto Naos and La Bombilla between March and May – here

BBC –  La Palma: Thousands evacuated as Canary Island wildfire burns  – here

El Time – The work from the air is effective and controls the advance of the fire here

El Diario – Alert for risk of forest fires in La Palma, El Hierro, La Gomera, Tenerife and Gran Canaria here

La Palma Ahora – The educational program ‘Canary Islands: a volcanic window on the Atlantic’ starts in El Paso here

To see our full news archive, visit our open data section or click here.


Access photography that was taken around this time:

GeoTenerife's Director Sharon Backhouse, interviewed live on BBC TV News discussing the La Palma forest fire of July 2023.

Resiste La Palma - The final construction phase of the La Laguna

Resiste La Palma - Continued removal of volcanic rock

The street road networks, as of July 2023, allow access to homes impacted by the lava flows

Drone footage of the wildfires on La Palma during the worldwide heatwave of July 2023

Environment maps

Figure 1. The damage caused by the wildfire on La Palma as of the 19th of July. The wildfire has mainly affected forest areas (Green), crops (Orange), arable land (Yellow), and some residential areas (Red). Sourced from Copernicus EMS (2023).

News and Interviews

Access our archive of news articles here.

Interactive Road construction map

Come back soon to access this map.

Animated Exclusion zone map

No Comments

Post A Comment