The responders are facing more challenges from volcano tourists than potential tsunamis.
Almost 7,000 people evacuated their homes after the La Palma volcano on Spain’s Canary Islands continued to erupt as it added a new fissure.
As the lava flows continued, emergency services ordered people from three villages on the island of La Palma to evacuate, and ordered residents of another village to stay indoors. Nearly 7,000 people have already left their homes to avoid the lava flows this week, and the prompt evacuations are credited with helping avoid casualties.
The latest volcanic activity also released a large cloud of gas and ash, forcing airlines to cancel flights, the Guardian reported. Canary Island regional airlines Binter and Canaryfly suspended operations, canceling all flights to La Palma because of the eruption.
Loud bangs from the volcano’s mouth sent shock waves echoing across the hillsides. Explosions hurled molten rock and ash over a wide expanse. As a precaution, emergency services pulled back from the area.
Binter temporarily halted flights due to a huge ash cloud that rose 6 kilometers (almost 4 miles) into the sky.
The volcano erupted again on Monday after it slowed down for a bit:
Spurts of vivid lava emerged from the Cumbre Vieja volcano in the early evening and snaked down the dark mountainside after a period of several hours without explosions, according to Reuters witnesses.
The hiatus and new explosions came eight days after lava started pouring from the mountain range on the island, which neighbours Tenerife in the Canary Islands archipelago off North Africa.
“Activating and deactivating is logical, natural in the evolution of Strombolian volcanoes,” said Miguel Angel Morcuende, director of the Pevolca response committee, referring to the type of violent eruption that emits incandescent dust.
Increíbles imágenes del volcán de La Palma desde dentro. pic.twitter.com/jxumDRVRrF
— La Palma | En Directo🌋 (@LaPalmaErupcion) September 27, 2021
NOW – River of lava flowing from the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma after new Strombolian explosions tonight.
— 💫Queen of Seventeen 1️⃣7️⃣🥃❤️🇺🇲✝️ (@AreYouAwaQe) September 27, 2021
The most significant problem emergency responders face at this point is the sheer number of volcano tourists.
Volcano tourists’ are causing congestion in La Palma, with plane tickets going for as much as €500 that were obtainable for as little €50 before the disaster.
The Guardia Civil are said to be very unhappy with the number of onlookers and visitors that are flocking to catch a glimpse of the volcanic eruption. ‘Now is not the moment for tourism,’ says a representative of the islands hospitality sector.
The volcanic eruption has seen La Palma put up the “no vacancy” sign. Curious onlookers and journalists have joined the tourists visiting the islands, and the planes and ships arriving are loaded with backpackers carrying camera equipment to capture events.
“Our associates in La Palma have said to us that a lot of tourists are arriving, mostly coming from other islands,” explains Juan Pablo González, the manager of Ashotel, a hospitality association serving the Canary Islands, which are a Spanish archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwestern coast of Africa.
“They are coming with the simple aim of seeing the volcano,” he explains. “Now is not the moment for tourism for La Palma, it’s the time to help, and these people are not doing that and are instead occupying beds that could, for example, be used by the security forces.”
One of the geologic theories that made the rounds on social media is that the eruption, potentially with a subsequent landslide, could cause a catastrophic tsunami strike on the East Coast of the US. Fortunately, that does not appear to be a significant threat.
After announcing the eruption on Twitter on Sept. 19, the U.S. Geological Survey said the tsunami threat remained local, debunking users’ claims that a purported “mega-tsunami” would happen.
That same day, the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center posted on Facebook that the eruption did not pose any tsunami risks to the East Coast.
The islands’ volcanology institute has assured that extreme conditions would have to occur for the theory to become a reality.
For instance, the volcano would have to grow by 1,000 meters over its current height, which the institute told Spanish national TV station Antena 3 would take another 40,000 years.
UPDATE tonight from the volcano eruption on La Palma…as you can see it’s super active! @WCKitchen is here serving meals to the first responders working 12 hour shifts…and with help of some amazing volunteers we are making sure everyone has something to eat! #ChefsForLaPalma 🌋 pic.twitter.com/o7mVM9jt0Q
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) September 25, 2021
With all the carbon and sulfur has emissions from La Palma, someone should notify the climate justice warriors. Indeed, some sort of tax could have prevented the eruption.
— T (@Rifleman4WVU) September 25, 2021
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