La Palma eruption update 4th december 2021: Activity shifts to the SE flank of the main cone

La Palma eruption update 4th december 2021: Activity shifts to the SE flank of the main cone

Daily summary

Throughout the day, the surface activity of the volcano was variable, with the northeast vent that was been the most active over the last week stopping, and the foci of the eruption switching to vents on the southeast flank of the main cone, which showed intermittent strombolian activity. This switch led to the reactivation of the lava flows to the south of Cogote Mountain, which occupy new land to the south of the flow field, although they were viscous and moved slowly. However, in the early evening, it was reported that new emission centres aligned east-west appeared lower down the southern flow west of the Las Manchas cemetery. These are emitting very fluid lava, speeding up the advance of the new lava flow and affecting further land.

Only 41 earthquakes were recorded yesterday by IGN, showing a continuing decrease in the seismic activity, with most again being concentrated at shallow-intermediate depths (10-15 km). In terms of deformation, the inflation episode reported at the LP03 station near Jedey has partially reversed, and the rest of the network continues to show stability with a very gradual deflation trend seen at some of the more proximal stations to the eruption. The emission of SO2 continues to be high from the volcano however, which indicates the presence of magma to feed the eruption, although the SO2 concentrations in nearby towns remained at reasonably good to good at all stations apart from Los Llanos de Aridane, Tazacorte and Puntagorda where the levels were regular. It has been made clear by PEVOLCA that any forecasts of the end of eruption cannot be made until we see sustained low SO2 emissions from the volcano, regardless of the level of surface activity, seismicity and deformation.

PM10 concentrations were increased across the island, especially in the east, due in part to winds bringing a haze of Saharan dust to the island. However, they remained reasonably good at all stations aside from La Grama (Breña Alta), where they reached unfavourable levels, prompting advice to stay inside if at all possible and wear FFP2 masks when outside.

A man in front of three flags (Spain, Canary Islands and European Union) gestures to a TV screen where the latest lava flow extents are shown

The latest lava flow map showing the directions of the active flows (red dotted lines) are shown during the daily PEVOLCA meeting with technical director Miguel Ángel Morcuende. Image credit: PEVOLCA, 112 Canarias

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.

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News articles

  • RTVE – Latest updates – here
  • Antena 3 – Drones see the new volcanic vent – 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

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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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