La Palma volcano eruption, summary for 20 September: evacuation, possible tsunami and live updates
La Palma volcano eruption live: latest news
Live coverage of La Palma volcano
Here you can see live footage of the clouds of smoke rising above the island. We have our Spanish team monitoring the situation and will be updating regularly here.
This is the first volcanic eruption in the Canary Islands for half a century.
Casado to travel to La Palma
The Popular Party’s Pablo Casado, the leader of the opposition in the lower house of Spain’s parliament, the Congress of Deputies, is to travel to La Palma on Wednesday, according to the Spanish news agency EFE.
Images of new vent opening late on Monday
Here are some images of a new vent opening up in the La Palma volcano on Monday evening. It is the ninth vent in the volcano, and is reportedly located around 900 metres from the chief opening.
In these video images of the aftermath of the volcanic eruption in La Palma, several houses find themselves in the path of the lava as it continues to flow downhill.
A man hurriedly carries books from a house during an evacuation due to the volcano eruption in La Palma. Several lava flows continued to roll downhill towards built-up areas throughout the night at a rate of about 700 metres per hour.
(Photo: Arturo Jiménez/GTRES)
More evacuations as lava pours from La Palma volcano
Lava pouring from the volcanic eruption on the island of La Palma has forced authorities to evacuate another part of El Paso, the town's mayor said on Tuesday.
People from the neighbourhood of Tacande Alto were evacuated late Monday and early Tuesday after a new stream of lava started flowing from another crack on the slope of the Cumbre Viejo volcano, Sergio Rodríguez told TV station TVE on Tuesday.
"The lava on its path to the sea has been a bit capricious and has diverted from its course," Rodríguez said.
About 6,000 of the 80,000 people living on the island have been forced to leave their homes to escape the eruption so far, TVE said.
No fatalities or injuries have been reported, but drone footage captured two tongues of black lava cutting a devastating swathe through the landscape as they advanced down the volcano's western flank towards the sea.
Experts say that if and when the lava reaches the sea, it could trigger more explosions and clouds of toxic gases. Marine authorities are keeping a two nautical mile area in the sea around the area closed as a precaution.
The lava flow was initially expected to reach the shore on Monday evening, but its speed has fallen in recent hours.
(Reuters; photo: REUTERS/Borja Suarez)
Series of small earthquakes reported late on Monday/early on Tuesday
Four small earthquakes were registered on La Palma yesterday evening and overnight, Spain’s Instituto Geográfico Nacional says.
The first took place at 21:32, reaching a magnitude of 3.8 and being felt in Los Llanos de Aridane, Tazacorte, Barlovento, El Paso, Breña Alta, Breña Baja, Fuencaliente, Los Canarios, Villa de Mazo, San José and Santa Cruz de La Palma.
Just before midnight, a second earthquake measuring 3 on the Richter scale took place in El Paso, before at 6:06, a third, of the same strength, was felt in much of Los Llanos de Aridane and de El Paso.
The final quake, measuring 2.2 in magnitude, also took place in El Paso.
Spain's PM to fly to New York on Tuesday
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez will finally travel to New York on Tuesday afternoon, before taking part in the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.
Sánchez had been due to fly to the US on Sunday, but postponed the trip and travelled to La Palma following the eruption of a volcano in the Cabeza de Vaca area of the Canary Island.
Before leaving for New York, Sánchez is due to join Spain’s interior minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, at a meeting of the country’s steering committee for volcanic emergencies on Tuesday at 13:00 CEST.
Lava and smoke rise on Monday following the eruption of a volcano on the Canary Island of La Palma. Picture taken with a drone.
Photo: REUTERS/Nacho Doce
Emissions from La Palma eruption reach Africa
European Satellite images show the emissions from the ongoing volcanic eruption on La Palma island have reached the coast of Africa.
How long will La Palma eruption last?
The last time Cumbre Vieja erupted in 1971, the lava kept spewing for 24 days. La Palma has a long recorded history of eruptions dating back to the 15th Century. The most recent is the eighth since records have been kept.
Eruptions on La Palma can last from a few weeks to several months.
View of the newest vent in La Palma volcanic eruption
After an earthquake measuring 3.8 magnitude Monday evening a new vent opened, the tenth, approximately 900 meters from the main vent. The new lava flow has forced the evacuation of Tacande in the vicinity off El Paso with around 700 residents. 112 emergency service officials don't know how many residents will have to abandon their homes at this time.
La Palma lava flow cuts across highway
The Spanish Guardia Civil released video of the river of lava crossing a road on the way to the ocean. The ring highway on the western side of the island has been made impassable.
Time lapse footage of La Palma volcanic eruption
High speed camera footage of the ash and smoke coming out of the volcano on the island of La Palma shot from the Roque de los Muchachos Space Observatory.
The world has been watching in awe as the lava continues to flow from Sunday's volcanic eruption on the Spanish Canary Island as it heads seawards.
Drone footage of lava's advance
The volcanic eruption on La Palma island continued Monday spewing lava at the same rate as when the eruption began on Sunday.
Danger from the lava reaching the ocean causing more explosions and possibly creating clouds of toxic gases has been pushed back to midday Tuesday with the flow advancing slower than originally calculated.
Aerial footage of lava flow in La Palma
The Spanish Guardia Civil released aerial footage Monday of the lava flowing out of Cumbre Vieja on the western side of La Palma island as it flows toward the Atlantic Ocean.
200 to 300 homes consumed by lava flow
As the lava that began spewing Sunday on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands continues its unstoppable march toward the coast it has engulfed between 200 and 300 homes.
4.1 magnitude earthquake opens 10th vent, new evacuations
Monday evening the magma from the eruption on La Palma forced its way through the ground in a 10th location. The new vent has forced the evacuation of around 1000 residents of the Tacande neighborhood, part of the El Paso municipality, residents of which were already evacuated.
The new evacuees join the nearly 5,500 people that have had to flee their homes as the lava flow advances toward the ocean. At its current pace it is expected to reach the Atlantic Ocean around noon Tuesday.
Spain sends additional emergency military personnel to aid in volcano eruption response
The Spanish military has activated 60 service members of its special elite military unit for emergencies. The will join the other emergency personnel on the island of La Palma who have been putting out fires caused by the erupting lava.
Spanish president cancels trip to US
The President of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, has cancelled a planned trip the United States to attend the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York. Given the circumstances on the ground in La Palma, Sánchez has chosen to stay to help with the developing disaster on the island.
Paradise is now a inferno of lava
The first village in the path of lava flow from the erupting volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma was Paraíso, or “Paradise”. The scenes in the village are now one of an inferno as the lava consumes everything in its path.
Emergency services evacuated the residents of Paraíso and two other villages but many animals were left behind. Firefighters responding to the emergency are trying to rescue those animals, including dogs, rabbits and birds.
The lava flow is advancing at 300 meters per hour, less than the 700 meters per hour previously calculated.
Lava from La Palma eruption won't reach coast tonight
Regional emergency officials from the Spanish island of La Palma informed that the lava was advancing slower than originally anticipated and will not reach the Atlantic Ocean tonight as it had been predicted earlier.
Officials had previously warned of possible explosions and clouds of toxic gases when the lava would reach the sea. The lava flow is approximately half way to the coastline.
New vent opening forces more evacuations
A new vent of the volcano has been reported to have opened up and this has forced more people to evacuate, this time around Tacande.
Spanish outlet Cadena SER reported this news although we are still attempting to get official confirmation that it is indeed a new vent, or just a crack on the surface. If it is, it would be the tenth.
Tourists demand close up of burning volcano
Tourists are trying to reach the Canary Island of La Palma to witness the volcanic eruption that has destroyed scores of homes and forced the evacuation of thousands of people.
More than 360 tourists were taken by ferry to the nearby island of Tenerife and another 180 holidaymakers may have to leave La Palma later today.
“There are many people who are trying to get to the island or are calling to see if they can come at the weekend to see the volcano from the closest point possible,” said Ignacío Liaño, director of ferry operator Fred Olsen, one of the companies that transports tourists to the island.
“The ferries have not been affected. They are not influenced by ash as planes are.”
Aerial view of the La Palma lava
This footage from the sky gives a powerful impression of what is happening on the island as the lava continues to flow towards the sea.
Slowing the lava flow
Firefighters have been trying to save some houses from the lava in La Palma.
As it entered the streets of El Paso some homes have already been destroyed.
Sánchez visits La Palma
The Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, was meant to be meeting other world leaders today in New York. But given what was happening in the Canary Islands he quickly changed plans.
Lava plus sea water
We are expecting the lava to be hitting the sea within the hour and will have images/footage, potentially rather spectacular, to bring you.
The Canary Islands' first volcanic eruption in 50 years has had the world watching.
La Palma had been on high alert for an eruption after more than 22,000 tremors were reported in the space of a week in Cumbre Vieja, which belongs to a chain of volcanoes that last had a major eruption in 1971 and is one of the most active volcanic regions in the Canaries.
One man was killed in 1971 as he took photographs near the lava flows from the Tenguia volcano. No property was damaged.
A submarine eruption occurred about 10 years ago close to the islands but caused little damage.
'Spanish Minister to encourage tourists by bathing in the lava'
...OK, not really!
The story we reported on earlier has been given the satirical take from regular Spanish humorists at El Mundo Today.
As their news story goes, not only has Reyes Maroto suggested people come to La Palma to see the spectacular volcanic scenes, they can also sunbathe there. And she'll swim near the mouth of the eruptions to demonstrate how nice it is, "just like being in a sauna."
She will not live her ill-advised comments down anytime soon.
The lava that is flowing from the erupting volcano of La Palma continues to advance towards the coast at a speed of about 700 metres per hour and experts have forecasted that it will reach the sea at about 8 pm local time on Monday (3 pm ET).
But many are asking: what happens then?
La Palma volcano from space
Earlier today this image was published, taken from space. It shows the volcanic emissions from the island and how they are spreading over the ocean, reaching the African coastline.
Volcanic eruption: don't forget the animals!
As well as the people being evacuated - something that started with the 300 or so with reduced mobility - there are also a number of farm animals in the area needing help.
In this video from the Spanish Civil Guard, you can see the great work being done to rescue and evacuate the goats and sheep.
Magma or lava? Do you know the difference?
What is magma and how does it differ from lava? That was one of the questions that we started to get asked as our coverage of the live events in La Palma unfolded on Sunday.
The rather simple answer is to do with where it is found and we asked geologist Eduardo Suárez, from the National Geographic Institute, to explain.
"Magma is the word given when it is inside the earth, and lava when it comes to the surface."
How it goes from magma to lava
Magma, or molten rock, breaks through the layer of surrounding rock, and this fracture produces waves that are measured on the surface by seismometers. If strong enough they can be felt by the nearby population as earthquakes.
In the case of La Palma, over the last week there have been more than 25 thousand mini-earthquakes of various magnitudes.
The magma has been accumulating in areas of the crust where it finds holes. This accumulation causes the magma to push out the materials that are still above it, which is reflected on the surface as a bulging, up to 15 cm in this case.
Almeida expects complete focus from government
The mayor of Madrid and national spokesman of the opposition Popular Party, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, said earlier that he hopes that public representatives are focused "solely and exclusively" on alleviating the consequences of the volcanic eruption in La Palma. Not only economically but also from a social and environmental point of view.
The mayor reflected on the comments made by the Minister of Industry, Reyes Maroto, (see below) and said he did not know the "reason nor motivation" that brought her to refer to the eruption as a tourist attraction, stressing that any reflection other than work on alleviating the consequences seems inappropriate.
There is a theory, and it is one that has been presented formally in a research paper, that a situation like that we are witnessing in La Palma could result in a huge wave hitting the east coast of the United States.
We thought we should have a look into this threat of a tsunami.
Volcano tourism opportunity, says minister
The Canary Islands are safe to visit and a volcano eruption there is a 'wonderful show', Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto has said today, just hours after 5,000 people, including hundreds of tourists, had to be evacuated.
'The island is open,' Maroto told Canal Sur radio, calling the eruption 'a wonderful show'.
'There are no restrictions on going to the island ... on the contrary, we're passing on the information so tourists know they can travel to the island and enjoy something unusual, see it for themselves,' she said.
Maroto's remarks drew immediate criticism from Teodoro Garcia Egea, secretary general of the opposition People's Party, who posted an article on Twitter quoting the minister and asked:
'Can someone confirm the minister said that while hundreds of people are losing everything they have?'
About 360 tourists were evacuated from a resort in La Palma following the eruption and taken to the nearby island of Tenerife by boat on Monday, a spokesperson for ferry operator Fred Olsen said. Another 180 tourists could be evacuated from La Palma later in the day, the spokesperson added.
La Palma volcano still active
"Lava is engulfing everything in its path," but the path has generally been cleared of people as evacuation teams stay ahead of the flow.
It is set to reach the sea at around 8 pm local time (3 pm ET), regional leader Angel Victor Torres told a news conference earlier today.
"It is still active and will continue to be active for the next few days," he told a news conference after a meeting with regional leaders, volcano experts and civil defence authorities.
EU president offers support to La Palma
Through her Twitter account, the president of the European Commission, Úrsula von der Leyen, has expressed her support for the people of the Canary Islands following the volcanic eruption in La Palma.
"We are with all the people in the Canary Islands facing the eruption of the volcano in La Palma." She added that the European Union has activated Copernicus, the European Union's Earth Observation Program, to monitor the situation on the island. "We are in contact with the Spanish authorities to provide additional support if necessary," she said.
Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtios has sent a message of support to the people of Palma: "A hug for the people of this beautiful island. Stay strong Palma"
Tourists evacuated to Tenerife
A group of 360 tourists who were evacuated from a beach resort in Spain's Canary island on Sunday after a volcano erupted in La Palma have been transferred to the nearby island of Tenerife by ferry on Monday morning, a spokesperson of ferry operator Fred Olsen said.
Another 180 tourists, also part of that group of over 500 tourists evacuated as a precaution from the resort in Puerto Naos, could be evacuated to the archipelago's biggest island later in the day, the spokesperson added. The volcano erupted on Sunday afternoon, shooting lava up hundreds meters into the air. In total, around 5,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. (Reuters)
100 houses affected by volcanic eruption
According to president of Cabildo, Mariano Hernández Zapata, the eruption has so far affected 100 houses, 20 of which have been totally destroyed in the town of El Paso. Meanwhile, Ángel Víctor Torres, president of the Canary Islands, said: "the damage will be material. We are talking about 17 to 20 million cubic meters of lava that will continue to erupt."
Spanish president Pedro Sánchez visits La Palma
This morning, Pedro Sánchez visited the center that is welcoming those affected by the La Palma volcano eruption. "I want to express my affection to people of the island due to the circumstances they are experiencing. We will continue working to protect citizens and repair the damage caused," he said on his Twitter account.
The lava from the volcanic eruption in La Palma continues. The president has said it's heading for the coast, but unlikely to damage more homes.
Lava 6-7m high engulfing houses, says Canary Islands president
Speaking on Spanish TV not long ago, president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, said at the moment "there is no certainty" about the number of homes affected by the lava. He said that the height of the lava is "six or seven meters and it is engulfing houses."
Torres expressed his "solidarity with the neighbors who have left their homes" but asserted that "we do not foresee having to evacuate anyone else" along the route of the lava flow. Some 5,000 people have been evacuated from the area so far.
"It is too early to know if this will last X days or weeks," he concluded.
Canary Islands president speaks
In an interview with radio station Cadena Ser, president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, has stated that "there will be significant material damage" caused by the eruption of the volcano in La Palma. "We hope there is no humanitarian damage," he added.
"There is a lot of magma, we have to wait. There have been no new evacuees. All our solidarity with the neighbors."
5,000 evacuated from La Palma
The Civil Guard has already evacuated 5,000 people affected by the new volcano on La Palma. Some 35,000 people are now under restrictions including closing all windows and exterior doors, lowering blinds and closing the water, gas and electricity supplies and go to the established meeting points.
The authorities believe that up to 10,000 people could be evacuated.
Twitter thread from volcanologist seeks to explain volcanic eruption
Dr Robin George Andrews, who has had stories in the New York Times and National Geographic, has posted a long twitter thread which gives a history of the volcanic activity on La Palma, and what the worst case scenario could look like.
Cumbre Vieja, a volcano 125,000 years old, is known to be active. It last erupted in 1971. This is the volcano that erupted today. Fortunately, the scientific community had forewarned residents and the army so the area was evacuated in time.
There is a worry, which some consider unlikely, that the volcano could slide into the ocean, causing a tsunami across the Atlantic. Dr Andrews considers these fears to be misplaced and thinks the eruption will remain a local affair.
It isn't yet known how long it will continue to pour for.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks
In a press conference from Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Sanchez discussed the unfolding situation on the islands.
"The safety of the citizens of La Palma must be guaranteed. For a week we have made an anticipation on how to act at the time of the eruption."
"I wanted to make a mention of the contribution of science, because thanks to that we could anticipate events. It has been thanks to the accuracy of science."
"Enough troops have been deployed to face any type of contingencies. We are awaiting the fires. The Civil Guard, Police, Firefighters, Red Cross are going to be deployed ... and the Military Emergency Unit is also being added."
"[The islands have] the support of the Government of Spain so that material losses are addressed as soon as possible. I have communicated with the King and we have given him first-hand information on the state of the situation. Tomorrow at 12:00 we have a new meeting of situation to see the evolution of this eruption ".
"We have all the troops, the citizens must be calm. Their safety is guaranteed."
La Palma volcanic eruption: latest news
Hello and thank you for joining our live coverage of the volcanic eruption that is taking place on the Spanish Canary island of La Palma.
We have been keeping a close eye on what has been happening there over the last few days as the seismic activity was slowly building.
On Sunday at 3:10 pm local time, (which is the same as the UK, rather than mainland Spain which is an hour ahead), and 10:10 am on the east coast of the US, a huge column of smoke grew above the Cumbre Vieja national park, located to the south of the popular tourist destination. Some 5,000 people have been evacuated from the area as lava continues to make its way towards the sea.
We will keep you up to date as the situation develops...