The contribution of lava to the active lava flows has been concentrated around flows 4 and 7 which both flow parallel in between La Laguna Mountain and Todoque Mountain, and in the last 24 hours have merged a few hundred metres from the coast, to the SW of La Laguna Mountain. The flows are currently affecting new land which consists largely of banana plantations.

The cumulative amount of material expelled by the eruption so far is thought to have reached the threshold value (10 million m3) for the classification of the eruption to change from a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) 2 eruption to a VEI 3 eruption. However, PEVOLCA were keen to explain that this value only represents the amount of material emitted by the eruption and does not imply any changes to the eruption dynamics.

The increase in lava emission rate in the evening of the 18th has continued, making the lava flows faster and more fluid. However, there remains only three active fronts as in the past days, one to the south of the lava flow field that has flowed past Cogote Mountain, called flow 11, another front consisting of multiple streams feeding the lava delta (flows 1, 2 and 9), and finally a wide front between La Laguna Mountain and Todoque Mountain which is the most active flow (between flows 4 and 7).

The more intense activity in the strombolian vents in the main cone that began on the 17th continues to be seen in the form of larger pyroclasts being emitted. From 8pm local time, an overflow of the lava channel by the cone was observed and was accompanied by an increase in lava emission rate. Regarding lava flows, the most active is flow number 4, which is 300 m from the sea between La Laguna and Todoque mountain.

The fissure eruption continues to show a mixed strombolian mechanism with phases of more and less explosive behaviour as well as pulses of phreatomagmatic activity. Currently, there are multiple active strombolian events in the main cone, with a lava emission point on the NE flank of the main cone.

The eruption continues to show some stability and a general decrease in energy, although PEVOLCA reminds that the current eruption parameters do not indicate a possible end to the eruption in the short term. However, there was increased ash emission observed yesterday, which has led to a worsening of air quality and the suspension of classroom teaching in the municipalities closest to the eruption. Furthermore, the poor air quality has caused the cancellation of some flights at La Palma airport.

The latest statistics on the renewed growth of the lava delta over the past few days indicate it has now created 41 hectares of new land away from the previous coastline. The lava delta has continued to grow to the south as flow 9 which was travelling over the 1949 lava delta has now reached the sea and adds material to it. As well as flows 1, 2 and 9 feeding the lava delta, flows 4 and 7, the fronts of which are located to the south of La Laguna Mountain near the northern edge of the flow field, are also being fed by lava tubes.  Regarding earthquakes the frequency and magnitude remained fairly low. 44 events were recorded, with similar amounts at both intermediate (10-15 km) and deeper (30-45 km) depths, with the day’s largest earthquake being a mbLg 4.4 event at 38 km depth.

An increase of ash emission has been observed, which could affect air quality to the north and west of the eruption. A slight reconfiguration of the lava flows means that flow 9, to the south of the lava delta, now has the largest contribution of lava and that flows 1 and 2 feeding the lava delta have a lower contribution of lava compared to previous days. The lava now covers 1,020 hectares, and the flow field is 3,100 m wide at its maximum. According to the land registry, 1,460 buildings have been affected including 1,181 homes, although these values are much lower than those estimated by the Copernicus EMS satellite data.

PEVOLCA today have confirmed the death of a 72-year-old man in the exclusion zone in the El Corazoncillo neighbourhood in the municipality of El Paso. The cause of death as well as the man’s identity is currently unknown, however the cause of death is currently being investigated by the Judicial Authority and the Civil Guard. It is known that the man was in the exclusion zone as part of an authorised ash cleaning team authorised by the city council. With respect to the eruption, the activity continues to show stability, with mixed strombolian activity from multiple vents within the main cone as well as a lava emission vent on the NW flank of the main cone, as well as occasional phreatomagmatic pulses. Regarding earthquakes the frequency and magnitude decreased relative to previous days. 19 events were recorded, with similar amounts at both intermediate (10-15 km) and deeper (35-40 km) depths, with the day’s largest earthquake being a mbLg 5.0 event at 38 km depth.

The two lava flows feeding the lava delta, flows 1 and 2, have now combined both in the sea forming a single large lava delta, and also on land too close to the cliffs. Other than these flows, flow number 9 which is further south of the current lava delta and is on the 1949 lava delta, is also active. Due to the lava-water interactions, turbulent currents have been detected up to 1 km from the lava front. Whilst these currents can be damaging to marine life, the chemical parameters of the ocean are not thought to be significantly affected at this distance from the front of the lava delta.