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Day by Day in La Palma

Our daily updates from throughout the eruption can be viewed here. Each update has a dedictaed page featuring a daily update; links to witness testimony and footage from that day; maps showing the location, depth and number of earthquakes; the progress of lava flows; links to news articles related to the eruption; and screenshots of the official social media communications on that day.

To view the full update for a chosen day, click on the chosen day’s heading.

Day by Day La Palma VolcanoStories

La Palma update 11th September 2021: New seismic swarm detected

11 September, 2021
Today, a cluster of 11 earthquakes at 9-14 km were recorded in the south of La Palma close to the Cumbre Vieja ridge, starting at 3:18 am local time. The largest event so far was a mbLg 1.5 earthquake and 11 km depth. This new seismic swarm is the first that has been detected since earthquake swarms in June and January 2021, which were largely clustered in similar areas but at depths deeper than 20 km. The swarm represents the 9th seismic swarm in southern La Palma since anomalous seismic activity began in the area in October 2017, which is thought to be related to magmatic reactivation of Cumbre Vieja. The shallow depth of these latest earthquakes, as well as the consistent locations with other swarms, are the most significant features, although the timescales nor the potential occurrence of any magmatic reactivation cannot be determined in the short-medium term.
Day by Day La Palma VolcanoStories

La Palma update 12th September 2021: New seismic swarm continues

12 September, 2021
The new earthquake swarm on the south of La Palma has continued and today significantly intensified, both in the frequency and magnitude of the earthquakes. There were 208 earthquakes from 7-18 km depths, with the vast majority between 9-12 km depth. The largest event so far was a mbLg 3.4 earthquake and 9 km depth. This new seismic swarm is the first that has been detected since earthquake swarms in June and January 2021, which were largely clustered in similar areas but at depths deeper than 20 km. The swarm represents the 9th seismic swarm in southern La Palma since anomalous seismic activity began in the area in October 2017, which is thought to be related to magmatic reactivation of Cumbre Vieja. The shallow depth of these latest earthquakes as well as the increasing intensities are the most important aspects of this swarm thus far. Although the possibility or timescales of magmatic reactivation cannot be predicted, the likelihood of changes would increase if the swarm became shallower and more intense. Nonetheless, previous eruptions in the Canary Islands, including the 2011 El Hierro eruption were preceded by lengthy periods of strong seismicity at similar depths.
Day by Day La Palma VolcanoStories

La Palma update 13th september 2021: PEVOLCA Activated

13 September, 2021
Today, in the wake of the intensifying seismic swarm on La Palma that began on the 11th September, the Government of the Canary Islands have activated the Scientific Committee of the Special Plan for Civil Protection and Attention to Emergencies due to Volcanic Risk (PEVOLCA). Alongside this activation, the volcanic traffic light alert system has been raised from green to yellow in the municipalities of Fuencaliente, Los Llanos de Aridane, El Paso and Mazo. The yellow traffic light allows for an intensification of communication to the population, volcano and seismic monitoring, as well as increased surveillance.
Day by Day La Palma VolcanoStories

La Palma update 14th September 2021: Seismic swarm intensifies

14 September, 2021
Today, a cluster of 11 earthquakes at 9-14 km were recorded in the south of La Palma close to the Cumbre Vieja ridge, starting at 3:18 am local time. The largest event so far was a mbLg 1.5 earthquake and 11 km depth. This new seismic swarm is the first that has been detected since earthquake swarms in June and January 2021, which were largely clustered in similar areas but at depths deeper than 20 km. The swarm represents the 9th seismic swarm in southern La Palma since anomalous seismic activity began in the area in October 2017, which is thought to be related to magmatic reactivation of Cumbre Vieja. The shallow depth of these latest earthquakes, as well as the consistent locations with other swarms, are the most significant features, although the timescales nor the potential occurrence of any magmatic reactivation cannot be determined in the short-medium term.
Day by Day La Palma VolcanoStories

La Palma update 15th September 2021: Seismic swarm continues

15 September, 2021
As the seismic swarm continues to intensify, PEVOLCA maintains the yellow traffic light in the municipalities of El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridane, Mazo and Fuencaliente, although comments that there is still no evidence of an imminent eruption. Over the last couple of days, the seismicity has become displaced to the northwest relative to the focus at the beginning of the swarm, and the average depth has decreased and is now between 6-8 km. Additionally, today some lower magnitude earthquakes have been detected much nearer the surface (1-3 km).
Day by Day La Palma VolcanoStories

La Palma update 16th September 2021: Seismicity continues

16 September, 2021
Miguel Ángel Morcuende, head of the Environment and Emergencies service of the Government of La Palma, has been appointed technical director of PEVOLCA and will be responsible for directing and coordinating all actions carried out under the Plan itself. To meet the telecommunications demands that an emergency could bring, the government has decided to upgrade the existing Canary Islands Emergency and Security Network (RESCAN).
Day by Day La Palma VolcanoStories

La Palma update 17th september 2021: More emergency plans activated

17 September, 2021
Today, a cluster of 11 earthquakes at 9-14 km were recorded in the south of La Palma close to the Cumbre Vieja ridge, starting at 3:18 am local time. The largest event so far was a mbLg 1.5 earthquake and 11 km depth. This new seismic swarm is the first that has been detected since earthquake swarms in June and January 2021, which were largely clustered in similar areas but at depths deeper than 20 km. The swarm represents the 9th seismic swarm in southern La Palma since anomalous seismic activity began in the area in October 2017, which is thought to be related to magmatic reactivation of Cumbre Vieja. The shallow depth of these latest earthquakes, as well as the consistent locations with other swarms, are the most significant features, although the timescales nor the potential occurrence of any magmatic reactivation cannot be determined in the short-medium term.
Day by Day La Palma VolcanoStories

La Palma update 18th September 2021: Very shallow seismicity continues

18 September, 2021
A PEVOLCA meeting today chaired by Justice, Security and Public Administrations Minister Julio Pérez on the evolution of the seismic activity on La Palma covered among other things advancing actions for a possible future evacuation of the population in the affected municipalities of Fuencaliente, Los Llanos de Aridane, El Paso and Villa de Mazo. The Cabildo de La Palma, who were in attendance, have activated their island-wide PEINPAL Emergency Plan as a preventative measure. Furthermore, an observation flight over La Palma has been coordinated for the monitoring of the ongoing activity. As well as the island-wide emergency plans, the town councils of the affected municipalities (Fuencaliente, Los Llanos de Aridane, El Paso and Villa de Mazo) have also activated their local emergency plans.
Day by Day La Palma VolcanoStories

La Palma update 19th September 2021: Fissure eruption begins near Las Manchas

19 September, 2021
At 15:12 local time, a basaltic fissure eruption began, with the coordinates of the first emission point being 28º36’N, 17º52’W. The eruption has shown phreatomagmatic pulses, especially during the first few hours, characterised by ash-and-steam-rich plumes, which reached heights of 1500-3000 m, although predominantly shows a typical strombolian mechanism. Initial estimates indicate the SO2 emissions from the activity could be between 6,000-9,000 tons per day.
Day by Day La Palma VolcanoStories

La Palma eruption update 20th September 2021: Multiple vents are active

20 September, 2021
The new eruption continues with strombolian activity and lava flows being produced from 4 vents along an eruptive fissure, although a principal cone has been formed. The opening of new vents cannot be ruled out, with the final active vent opening at 7:56 pm local time and showing a more effusive character. The lava flows have reached halfway to the sea, although the flow fronts have slowed markedly relative to their initial velocity. Latest estimates give a velocity of 200 metres per hour, and they are expected to reach the town of Todoque within the next couple of days. However, it is uncertain when the flows will reach the sea, although the maritime authorities have extended the oceanic exclusion zone to two nautical miles, for security as well as safety reasons. The exclusion zone has also been extended to include Tacande in the municipality of El Paso as a new eruptive vent 900 metres from the main one has opened, forcing the evacuation of more people, moving the total number of evacuees to approximately 5,500. As well as people, a priority of the authorities is to transfer livestock out of the path of the eruption, including 400 goats in addition to pigs and cattle so far.