La Palma eruption update 7th october 2021: Earthquake activity intensifies
A relatively stable period in the eruption continues, both in respect to the paths taken by the lava flows and the surface eruptive activity. Between the 5th and 6th, the area affected by the lava flow only increased by 9 hectares, now totalling 431.2 hectares, and the maximum width of the flow field remains the same at 1,250 m. However, 350 m from the coast, a small lava breakout has occurred, creating a new flow that has cascaded down cliffs north of the current lava delta onto an area of low topography that is part of the lava delta formed in the 1949 eruption, although it has not yet reached the sea. Throughout the morning earthquake activity has intensified although continues to be concentrated at 10-15 km depth in the area of the precursory swarm. 99 earthquakes were recorded, the largest being 4.3 mbLg which was felt across the island. PEVOLCA commented that a similar intensification in seismic activity was seen in the 2011 El Hierro eruption after the eruption had begun.
As expected, a reduction in the height of the thermal inversion has led to a decrease in air quality across particularly the western half of the island. With respect to SO2 concentrations, the air quality decreased to ‘regular’ levels through the night of the 6th-7th, and decreased further throughout the day. The hourly SO2 threshold of 350 μg/m3 was exceeded 5 times in El Paso, 2 times in Los Llanos and 1 time in Tazacorte, with peak concentrations of 667 μg/m3, 364 μg/m3 and 368 μg/m3 in these stations respectively. PM10 concentrations however only exceeded the daily threshold (50 μg/m3) in Los Llanos. The SO2 emissions from the volcano were estimated at 4,994 tons per day, although it is commented that this is an underestimate.
Sources: Government of the Canary Islands, PEVOLCA, Involcan, IGN, DSN, Cabildo La Palma, 112 Canarias, Tolouse VAAC, Copernicus EMS
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