La Palma eruption update 29th september 2021: ‘Lava delta’ creating new land
The active lava flow continues cascade down the cliffs of Playa de Los Guirres to the sea, where a lava delta (also called by the Canarianism “fajana”) is being created. The contact of the lava and seawater are creating gases of vapour, although currently due to the prevailing winds these have not spread laterally and are concentrated in a small area around the lava delta. Nonetheless, the confinement order remains in place for neighbourhoods in Tazacorte for the moment. The rest of the lava flows remain practically inactive, and new damage estimates 476 hectares have been covered by the lava flows, and 744 buildings have been damaged or destroyed according to the Copernicus Satellite. Regarding surface activity, strombolian activity continues with pulses of increased and decreased intensity, as well as an effusive focus from the vent on the NW sector of the main cone. Ash concentrations are higher than previous days in the Aridane Valley, so the population are reminded to wear FFP2 or better facemasks when outside and take extra caution. Irrigators and evacuated residents outside the exclusion zone have been allowed in to tend to their crops and remove their belongings, and have been accompanied by UME and the Civil Guard who can monitor gas concentrations in real time.
Increasing earthquake activity in the municipality of Fuencaliente, where the precursory seismic swarm began on the 11th September, continues from the last two days. In total, 23 earthquakes were recorded, peaking at 3.3 mbLg. PEVOLCA however noted that a similar pattern of seismicity was seen in the 2011 El Hierro eruption, where earthquake activity migrated from the eruption site and to the location of precursory earthquakes, at elevated levels, once the eruption began. Furthermore, they noted how the open vents in the main cone mean the magma does not have to look for a new path to the surface. The ash plume height exceeds 3500 m, and the SO2 emissions are measured at 7,149 tons per day. Deformation continues to show a long-term trend of stability at all stations, and tremor also remains stable, at medium levels.
Sources: Government of the Canary Islands, PEVOLCA, Involcan, IGN, DSN, Cabildo La Palma, 112 Canarias, Tolouse VAAC
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