La Palma eruption update 29th september 2021: ‘Lava delta’ creating new land

La Palma eruption update 29th september 2021: ‘Lava delta’ creating new land

Daily summary

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.

A photo taken on the sea from a boat with the black lava flows jutting out into the sea and smoking heavily as they contact the water.

The growing and cooling lava delta as seen on the 29th September producing large clouds of water vapour and other gases. Image credit: 112 Canarias

Sources: Government of the Canary Islands, PEVOLCA, Involcan, IGN, DSN, Cabildo La Palma, 112 Canarias, Tolouse VAAC

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.

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News articles

  • BBC News – La Palma volcano: Family’s anguish as lava destroys ‘miracle house’ – here
  • El País – Volcanic eruption in La Palma: What happens when lava enters the sea? – here

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Eruption footage

News and Interviews

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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

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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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