La Palma eruption update 19th december 2021: Background levels maintained
Volcanic tremor continues at background levels, with no eruptive activity seen, although a reactivation cannot be ruled out. PEVOLCA is keen to stress there is still danger from the temperatures and instability of the lava flows, as well as their associated gases, and that residents entering the evacuated areas should not approach any flows, even if they seem inactive. Small remnants of incandescent lava flows breaking out from lava tubes have still been observed in the south, which led to gas levels that prevented access for neighbours and irrigators to the evacuated areas from the south.
The SO2 emissions from the plume remain stable, again registering a low (50-99 tonnes per day) value. PEVOLCA continues to explain 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 remain stable, and largely good. SO2 concentrations were good in all stations throughout the day, and PM10 levels in all stations were between good and reasonably good. From Tuesday, an Atlantic front is predicted which may bring strong rains which could impact the operation of the airport.
Deformation remains stable across the network, showing no trend. 36 earthquakes were recorded, peaking at M3.2. The majority of earthquakes were at intermediate depths (<20 km), with also some deep (>30 km) earthquakes seen. As has been the case since the tremor decreased to background levels, 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. This represented 18 out of the 36 events recorded.
(Above) A drone video showing the morphology of the main cone on the 19th in its inactive state. Inset is a thermal video showing how hot many areas of the lava flows and cone still are despite being inactive. Video credit: IGN Spain
Sources: Government of the Canary Islands, PEVOLCA, Involcan, IGN, DSN, Cabildo La Palma, 112 Canarias, Tolouse VAAC, Copernicus EMS
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Interactive Lava Flow Map
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Interactive Earthquake Map
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