23 Sep La Palma eruption update 23rd september 2021: 300 homes already affected by the lava flows
La Palma eruption update 23rd september 2021: 300 homes already affected by the lava flows
The two lava flow fronts, one to the north and one to the south, continue to advance slowly. The maximum length of the flow is now 3,800 m, with 2,100 m to go to reach the sea, and the flows now cover 220 hectares in total. The northern front moves at approximately 1 m per hour and is up to 12 m thick, whereas the southern front moves faster, at 4-5 m per hour. Current estimates of damage include about 300 homes already affected by the lava flows. The eruptive activity continues to show a strombolian mechanism, although with a more explosive and ash-rich behaviour. This more energetic activity is mirrored in the plume height, which is measured at around 4,500 m compared to 3,000 m on previous days, and the SO2 emissions, which are estimated at over 12,000 tons per day. Changes in the wind direction and increased height of the plume have led to the dispersal of ash eastwards towards Santa Cruz de La Palma and La Palma airport, causing disruption to its operations for the first time since the eruption began.
Some geophysical parameters also appear to correlate with changes in surface activity, for example increases have been seen in the volcanic tremor during more energetic and explosive phases of activity. Despite this increase in activity, air quality with respect to SO2 concentrations in nearby population centres has remained at a ‘good’ level across the surveillance network. Deformation for the moment remains stable across the network, with no patterns of inflation or deflation seen. Earthquake activity remains at a low level, with only 2 earthquakes recorded, peaking at 2.6 mbLg. However, it is worth noting that since the start of the eruption and commencement of constant volcanic tremor, small magnitude (<2.0) earthquakes cannot be recorded and located due to the noise from the volcanic tremor.
Sources: Government of the Canary Islands, PEVOLCA, Involcan, IGN, DSN, Cabildo La Palma, 112 Canarias, Tolouse VAAC
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