La Palma eruption update 17th November 2021: Over 300 earthquakes recorded in one day

La Palma eruption – 17th November 2021

Daily summary

The fissure eruption continues to show a mixed strombolian mechanism with phases of more and less explosive behaviour as well as pulses of phreatomagmatic activity. Currently, there are multiple active strombolian events in the main cone, with a lava emission point on the NE flank of the main cone. Partly due to meteorological conditions, a high rate of ash emissions continues, especially to the S and SW of the volcano, and throughout the day the volcano began to emit larger pyroclasts from the vents in the main cone. Regarding earthquakes, a large increase in the frequency and magnitude has been recorded, especially with respect to intermediate depth events (10-15 km). 319 events were recorded, with similar amounts at both intermediate and deep (30-45 km) depths, with the day’s largest earthquake being a mbLg 4.8 event at 35 km depth.

As well as seismicity, SO2 emissions increased markedly to 16,000-32,000 tons per day, whilst the ash and gas plume exceeded 3,000 m. However, satellite measurements imply current SO2 emissions are lower than the start of the eruption. Tremor increased from low to medium levels throughout the day, although deformation continued as seen since the start of November, with variable deformation at the LP03 GPS station in Jedey closest to the eruption and a small weakening regional deflation signal in the other stations. Air quality remained poor near the volcano; Los Llanos, Puntagorda and Tazacorte all exceeded the hourly alert and limit thresholds (500 and 350 μg/m3) multiple times, as well as the daily limit threshold (125 μg/m3). However, all other stations had good SO2 levels. PM10 values were unfavourable in Los Llanos and exceeded the daily threshold (50 μg/m3), although at all other stations the PM10 particles were good or reasonably good.

A landscape photo taken from a high point with ribbons of cooled lava being seen in the foreground to midground. On the left is the erupting main cone of the volcano, and the ash plume extends above and across at a low angle towards the viewer, with ashfall being seen from the base of the plume.

Image of the eruption from La Laguna Mountain at 11.30 am. The wind direction is dispersing the gas and ash plume to the west. 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

  • NPR –  La Palma volcano brings both destruction and renewal to the island – here
  • El Pais – Flights cancelled and schools shut – 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

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

click here to enlarge

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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