Spanish island volcano lava flow compared to tsunami – NBC Chicago
The second 4.5 magnitude earthquake in two days rocked the Spanish island of La Palma on Friday, officials said, as scientists described a gushing river of molten rock from an erupting volcano as “an actual lava tsunami “.
The two earthquakes were the strongest to hit La Palma, part of the Canary Islands off northwest Africa, since the volcano erupted on September 19, the Spanish National Geographic Institute said.
Lava rolling towards the Atlantic Ocean forced the evacuation of more than 300 people Thursday evening, bringing the number of people forced to leave their homes since Tuesday to 1,200, according to the government of La Palma. About 7,000 people in total have had to flee since the eruption, the government said.
Authorities have not reported any victims of the eruption on the island of some 85,000 people. Most of the island, where the economy is based mainly on agriculture and tourism, has not been affected so far.
Two main lava rivers were still flowing from Cumbre Vieja Ridge on Friday. The first has slowed to a virtual stop, but a second spits out a large amount of molten rock and forces the authorities to remain vigilant for other possible evacuations.
The Canary Islands Institute of Volcanology compared one of the flows to a tsunami of lava as molten rock poured down a hill.
The volcano spat out ocean sediments that predate the island’s formation 2 million years ago, said Vicente Soler of the Higher Scientific Research Center of Spain.
The lava completely or partially destroyed more than 1,500 buildings, most of them houses, and covered more than 680 hectares (1,680 acres), according to an EU satellite monitoring agency.
Lava from Spain’s Cumbre Vieja volcano poured into the Atlantic Ocean for a second day, 10 days after its eruption destroyed nearly 600 homes.