La Palma eruption update 16th december 2021: PEVOLCA: The eruption won’t be declared over until at least 10 days without activity

La Palma eruption update 16th december 2021: PEVOLCA: The eruption won’t be declared over until at least 10 days without activity

Daily summary

For the third day, volcanic tremor continued at background levels and there was no eruptive activity on the surface, apart from slight degassing from the main craters and areas where the roofs of lava tubes have collapsed. However, PEVOLCA was keen to remind people that a high risk still exists, and that civil protection measures, exclusion zones and evacuation zones are being fully maintained. People who access these areas must always be accompanied by personnel with air quality measuring equipment.

Because of the lack of activity, SO2 emissions from the plume remain stable, registering a low (<5 tons per day) value. PEVOLCA states these emissions are due to the solidification of superficial magma in the conduits, rather than magma ascent. Air quality with respect to SO2 and PM10 concentrations remained similar to the previous day. SO2 concentrations were good in all stations, as were PM10 levels in all stations except Los Llanos de Aridane, where extremely unfavourable levels were recorded in the morning. As a precaution, people are advised to stay indoors where possible, and continue to wear FFP2 masks. PM10 concentrations generally are expected to worsen over the coming days with an arrival of a Saharan air mass.

Deformation remains stable across the network, and 103 earthquakes were recorded yesterday, peaking at M3.5. Different to previous days, a number of clusters of deep earthquakes (35-40km depth) were recorded as well as intermediate depth earthquakes (<20 km). As in previous days, the number of events is inflated due to a number of small earthquakes (<M2.0) being detected and located, that would not be possible without the background tremor values seen currently.

The imposing smouldering cone fills the image, with some green patches on it from precipitation of sulfur deposits. Houses are seen in the foreground

A picture of the inactive main cone taken from the NW near the town of El Paso. 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.

Official social media

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News articles

  • Reuters – Cautious Clean-Up on La Palma – here
  • El País – Countdown begins to declare end to the eruption – here
  • Plocan – PLOCAN facilitates the study of the impact of the La Palma volcano on the marine environment – here

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

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Eruption footage

News and Interviews

Witness Testimonies

Interactive Lava Flow Map

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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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