Slow-motion lava shots after hours of eruption on La Palma
VIDEO SHOWS: LAVA COMING OUT FROM VOLCANO ON LA PALMA / SLOW-MOTION OF LAVA EMANATING FROM VOLCANO / PEOPLE OBSERVING VOLCANO / LAVA BURNING VEGETATION
A volcano erupted on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma on Sunday (September 19), sending lava shooting into the air and streaming in rivers towards two villages from the Cumbre Vieja national park in the south of the island.
Authorities had begun evacuating the infirm and some farm animals from nearby villages before the eruption at 1515 local time (1415 GMT) on a wooded slope in the sparsely populated Cabeza de Vaca area, according to the islands’ government.
Two hours later, with lava edging down the hillside from five fissures torn into the hillside, the municipality ordered the evacuation of four villages, including El Paso and Los Llanos de Aridane.
After nightfall, video footage showed fountains of lava shooting hundreds of metres into the sky, and at least three incandescent orange rivers of molten rock pouring down the hill, tearing gashes into woods and farmland, and spreading as they reached lower ground.
One stream, several hundred metres long and tens of metres wide, crossed a road and began engulfing scattered houses in El Paso.
Spain’s Civil Guard said it was helping to evacuate between 5,000 and 10,000 people.
Canary Islands President Angel Victor Torres told TVE public television that no injuries had been reported so far.
La Palma had been on high alert after more than 22,000 tremors were reported in the space of a week in Cumbre Vieja, a chain of volcanoes that last had a major eruption in 1971 and is one of the most active volcanic regions in the Canaries.
In 1971, one man was killed as he was taking photographs near the lava flows, but no property was damaged.
The earliest recorded eruption in La Palma was in 1430, according to the Spanish National Geographical Institute (ING).