La Palma eruption update 15th october 2021: Advance of lava flows speeds up

La Palma eruption update 15th october 2021: Advance of lava flows speeds up

Daily summary

The eruption continues to show a mixed strombolian mechanism, with both explosive and effusive phases, although currently the effusive phase is the more predominant one. This has been observed downstream as an increase in fluidity of the active lava flows as a result of the greater supply rate of magma. During the night, the stream furthest north advanced at up to 250 m per hour, although it has slowed down to 20-30 m per hour. The area affected by lava is now 696 hectares, with the maximum width of the flow field 1,770 m. Regarding the inflation of 5 cm has been seen at the LP03 station between Jedey and Las Manchas yesterday, today it has shown a partial reversal, and no significant signals are seen in any of the other stations. During the afternoon, an old vent 300 m SE of the main cone reactivated although only with ash emission, and its activity decreased overnight.

Volcanic tremor remains at an elevated level of amplitude, with pulses of higher intensity also being seen. Earthquake activity remained intense and contained both intermediate (10-15 km) and deep (>20 km) earthquakes. 78 events were recorded, peaking at 4.5 mbLg. The ash and gas plume reached 4000 m, and the SO2 emissions from the volcano were lower than previous days, at 2,882 tons per day, although this is an underestimate. SO2 concentrations remained below threshold levels throughout the day, although the stations in Los Llanos, El Paso, Tazacorte and Puntagorda came close to exceeding the hourly threshold (350 μg/m3) in the morning. PM10 concentrations increased in all stations due to the arrival of a Saharan air mass, and the daily threshold (50 μg/m3) was exceeded in the morning in Los Llanos, peaking at 242 μg/m3 at 10:00 am local time.

Two scientists in high-vis strap down a plastic bucket to the ground, in an area covered with ash

A team of scientists setting up a bucket to catch ashfall. Measuring how the amount and composition of the ash changes throughout the eruption can give clues into subsurface processes beneath the volcano. Image credit: INVOLCAN

Sources: Government of the Canary Islands, PEVOLCA, Involcan, IGN, DSN, Cabildo La Palma, 112 Canarias, Tolouse VAAC, Copernicus EMS

Lava flows


Exclusion zone map

Exclusion zones shown here have been approximated from press releases from the Cabildo de La Palma and will not be exact, nor claim to be official maps of the exclusion zones. For official information, please contact the Cabildo de La Palma.

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News articles

  • Daily Express – Magma recharging  – here
  • LMV University – Studying the La Palma eruption – here

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Eruption footage

News and Interviews

Witness Testimonies

Interactive Lava Flow Map

Notes: Use the button in the top right to open the map into full screen mode. Use the legend icon in the top left to see the legend and further information about the map. Click on individual days to see an outline of the lava flows on that day.

Interactive Earthquake Map

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Notes: The size of the points represents the size of the earthquake, and the colour represents the depth. The map will also only show a certain number of points at once. For ease of use, we recommend you uncheck all dates and the satellite basemap from the legend in the top right, and inspect the earthquakes one day at a time.

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