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La Palma volcano summary: 4 November 2021

Latest news, information and updates on the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma, the most significant on the island since 1585.

La Palma volcano eruption: Thu 4 Nov

Strombolian and Hawaiian eruptions

The Spanish Geological and Mining Institute (IGME) has shared this video, where areas of both Strombolian and Hawaiian eruptions are captured. If you're not completely au fait with the subject, but are keen to learn, check this out.

In addition, you can see more of those dangerous lava bombs in the video.

U-turn on student return to class

Today was meant to see students in the volcano affected areas return to in-person classes.

But, as the ash and chemical assessments were made, the Ministry of Education of the Canary Islands announced that the suspension of classroom teaching would continue in the municipalities of El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridane, Tazacorte, Tijarafe and Puntagorda.

Cumbre Vieja's emissions

This footage is from the volcano yesterday as there was a bump in sulphur dioxide emissions along with further tremors. The affected area of lava flow has increased by another two hectares.


Spanish PM makes sixth La Palma visit

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, is heading back to La Palma today, making it the sixth time he has visited since the Cumbre Vieja volcano first erupted almost seven weeks ago.

After holding meetings with the scientific committee and Pevolca, the country's leader will appear before the media and will later meet with representatives of the banana industry.

The last time the president travelled to the island was 23 October, when he announced additional support measures to cover self-employed workers and to speed up the distribution of emergency aid for those affected.

In the photo, taken yesterday, you can see him meeting with Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso in Madrid. It's a busy time!

Cumbre Vieja at night

As these photos from La Palma native Ruben G showcase, the images of the Cumbre Vieja volcano at night are spectacular.

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Schools re-open as air quality improves

Schools re-opened in El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridane, Tazacorte, Tijarafe and Puntagorda today (Friday) as air quality on the island of La Palma improved. The schools have been closed all week with children studying remotely as a precautionary measure.

20 million years of volcanic activity in the Canary Islands

La Palma is one of the newest members of the Canary Island archipelago emerging out of the Atlantic Ocean roughly 1.8 million years ago as the Earth's crust shifted over the hotspot responible for the creation of the family of islands.

The oldest islands, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, got their start around 20 million years ago are now eroding away will one day go back below the surface of the water.

Lava continues to flow down the side of Cumbre Vieja

Hopes were raised for residents that the eruption on La Palma may be slowing with lower levels of sulphur dioxide emissions. However, numerous tremors were regisitered near the Cumbre Vieja volcano between Wednesday and Thursday a sign that the eruption may still have more material to expel.

Drone pilot on-site at Cumbre Vieja

Drones have proved a valuable asset during the eruption on La Palma bringing up-close footage of the volcanic activity in the interior of the Cumbre Vieja cone as well as flyovers of the lava field. 

The Geological and Mining Institute of Spain shares this photo of their colleague Carlos Lorenzo on the job at the site of the eruption.

Feeding evacuees and emergency crews on La Palma

World Central Kitchen, a non-profit founded by Spanish chef José Andrés that provides meals to those affected by natural disasters, has been on La Palma since shortly after Cumbre Vieja began erupting over six weeks ago. World Central Kitchen shares some photos of their efforts on the island.

New footage of the ongoing Cumbre Vieja eruption

The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute (INVOLCAN) has shared their final footage of the Cumbre Vieja eruption for this evening, showing the red-hot lava spewed into the night sky.

Incredible images of volcanic ash from La Palma

The Cumbre Vieja volcano has been spewing high quantities of ash over the past few days creating dramatic images.

Cumbre Vieja forms new beaches on La Palma

The lava flow from the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma reached the sea ten days after the eruption started. It has now pushed roughly 500 meters into the Atlantic Ocean forming a large delta. The ocean waves are now doing their part to grind down parts of the delta to form the island's newest beaches.

Sentinel-2 images of La Palma from space

Images from the EU's Sentinel-2 satellite show the extent of the smoke and ash cover over La Palma six weeks after the Cumbre Vieja eruption began.

Latest Copernicus imaging map

According to the most recent imaging map from the EU's Copernicus earth observatory, the lava flows from the Cumbre Vieja eruption now cover 990 hectares of land on La Palma and 2,581 buildings have been destroyed. 

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Spain yet to tap EU Solidarity Fund

Spain has a maximum of twelve weeks from the start of the Cumbre Vieja eruption on La Palma to request that the European Union activate a Solidarity Fund created to intervene in the event of serious natural disasters. Six and a half weeks after the eruption, Pedro Sánchez’s government has not yet been in touch with the EU despite pledging various aid packages to the beleaguered Canary Island.  

If Spain does not act within the given timeframe, it will lose the option of the Solidarity Fund being set in motion, said the director of the Representation office of the European Commission in Spain, María Ángeles Benítez, who pointed out that there could be nuances as to when the catastrophe began - whether it was when the volcano erupted on September 19 or when the lava began to flow, for example.

To activate the solidarity mechanism, the Spanish authorities must submit an application and demonstrate that the total direct damage caused by the disaster exceeds 1.5% of the average Gross Domestic Product of the affected region.

In the case of non-mainland regions such as the Canary Islands, applications for resources can be filed when the damage amounts to 1% of GDP, which in the case of the archipelago represents €457 million.

Photo by Jorge GUERRERO / AFP

More footage of erupting Cumbre Vieja

The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute has released fresh footage of the erupting volcano, showing plumes of ash and smoke towering from the vent.

Cumbre Vieja emissions plume tracking

According to equipment aboard the Sentinel-5P satellite - a Copernicus mission dedicated to monitoring the earth's atmosphere - sulfur dioxide emissions from the volcano are increasing. On Thursday TROPOMI detected an enhanced SO2 signal in the area of 4.62DU of SO2.

124 earthquakes in 24 hours

Just when things seem to be calming down, the reports continue to come in of more volcanic activity.

The National Geographic Institute has picked up 124 earthquakes in the last 24 hours (as of midday local time). Of them eight were at 30 kilometres and the rest at 12km. The highest magnitude yesterday was 3.7 mbLg, at 14 kilometres.

Malaga University use new tech to measure lava

The professor of the Department of Applied Physics, Santiago Palanco, has travelled to the island of La Palma to test an unprecedented technology developed at the University of Malaga that will allow them to measure the chemical composition of the lava in real time.

It is a new portable instrument that uses laser-induced plasma spectrometry at a distance and works up to 70 metres so that measurements can be take of the molten samples.

Binter resume La Palma flights as ash eases

Local Canary Island airline Binter has resumed flights to La Palma as the ash cloud caused by the Cumbre Vieja volcano eases and the improved visibility eases the flying process for Binter pilots.

Cumbre Vieja...still very active

The latest live video from INVOLCAN of the volcano show plenty of life left in the Cumbre Vieja with plenty of ash being expelled from the mouth.


'It's too soon to talk about the end'

The detection of 'positive signs' does not necessarily imply that the end of the eruption of the La Palma volcano is closer, pointed out the National Geographic Institute (IGN), who emphasized that both the volcanic tremor and the emission of sulfur dioxide (SO2) 'have fallen to values ​​of mid-October with the eruption of La Palma more stable.

UD Los Llanos de Aridane train as volcano rumbles

Lower league La Palma based UD Los Llanos de Aridane train as the Cumbre Vieja continues to erupt in the background

CanaryFly resumes La Palma flights

The local Canary Island airline has confirmed resumption of flights to LaPalma following the improvement of the conditions that guarantee safety and the positive evolution of the ash cloud from the volcanic eruption.


Spanish PM to return to La Palma

Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez will return to the stricken island of La Palma with his visit on Friday marking his sixth excursion to the Canary Island since the Cumbre Vieja volcano became active on 19 September.


Solidarity T-shirts raise funds for La Palma volcano victims

Six weeks into the eruption on Spain's La Palma, several local organisations have begun selling T-shirts, tote bags and other merchandise to raise funds for those who have lost their homes or jobs to the volcano.

"The message is that La Palma will stay strong. This is just a small contribution to help people who've been affected," said Pedro Garcia, 47, who manages the Creaprint printing shop in Los Llanos de Aridane, the closest major town to the lava flow.

At his shop, a huge mechanised printer churns out the latest batch of black shirts emblazoned with a design of street signs listing some of the villages caught in the lava's path. "When this ends, for us it will be just the beginning. There's an enormous amount of uncertainty right now," he said.

More than 2,000 of the shirts, which retail for 10 euros ($11.58) apiece, have been sold with all the proceeds directed to victims.

One design shows a stylised map of La Palma surrounded by people linking hands to create a heart-shaped ring, while on another the words "ashes are carried away by the wind, memories remain" surround a black-and-white volcano image. Carlos Cordero, 31, started selling the merchandise at his clothes shop in Los Llanos because he felt it was the quickest way to directly help islanders. He has sold more than 1,000 T-shirts and bags.


"Positive signs" that activity is slowing

More than 2,000 buildings have been destroyed and many thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes since lava began pouring out of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on Sept. 19.

Ashfall has intensified in recent days, coating the surrounding area with a sooty blanket of thick black dust. Experts say it is impossible to predict how long the eruption will continue but Carmen Lopez, who heads the National Geographic Institute's geophysical monitoring programme, told reporters on Wednesday there were "positive signs" that activity was slowing.

Cumbre Vieja's active days numbered?

Sulfur dioxide readings and a drop in volcanic tremors make experts feel the active Cumbre Vieja volcano may be ready to wind up.

Residents on the US east coast can rest easy, no tsunami is coming

A paper from 2001 hypothosized that an eruption on La Palma could destabilize the western flank of the island sending a large chunk into the ocean causing a mega-tsunami. Since then tsunami modeling has "advanced considerably" according to USGS researchers.

In addition more studies have been performed to analyze underwater landslides around La Palma occur. They show that the amount of material displaced with each instance is quite small and would cause a surge that would be of little worry to residents on the US east coast.

Falling ash piling up to 8 inches high

Falling ash spewing out of the erupting Cumbre Vieja volcano currently covers much of the Valle de Aridane, Radio Televisión Canaria reports. RTVC says ash is just over 1 inch to 2 inches (3-5cm) deep on the ground, and is piling as much as 8 inches (20cm) high on the roofs of buildings.

Observations of La Palma eruption

The Geological and Mining Institute of Spain is a research institute run under the auspices of the Ministry of Science has been following the eruption on La Palma along with other national and international agencies. You can check out all their latest updates about the Cumbre Vieja volcano which has been spewing lava for over six weeks.

Hello and welcome to our live blog for Thursday 4 November 2021, bringing you the latest updates and information on the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma.

Despite the fact that many believed it would be short-lived when the lava first started flowing on 19 September, the volcano has yet to let up. Experts say there is little sign of an end to the eruption but we'll keep you up to date with developments.