The eruptive activity of the La Palma volcano has decreased this Tuesday to “practically disappear” and live a “situation of impás” in which only one is visible “little and weak” fumarolic activity and without the cone is emitting lava. Still, scientists remain cautious when talking about the end of the eruption.
This has been reported by the technical director of Pevolca, Miguel Angel Morcuende, who has indicated at a press conference that this situation has been preceded by an important explosive phase occurred yesterday, Monday, between 5:45 pm and 7:00 pm, with the ejection of ash and the fall of bombs, especially towards the northern flank of the emergency.
Miguel Ángel Morcuende highlighted that, according to the members of the Scientific Committee, the activity of the volcano at the moment is “clearly attenuated”, as long as there are “practically non-existent” levels of tremor, until reaching background noises; very low seismicity, both at intermediate depth and at depths greater than 20 km, and there are no signs of deformation due to the absence of pressure.
Very low flow rate in the flows
Regarding the runoffs, Morcuende pointed out that the lava flow continues from the western base of the cone, especially through volcanic tubes, although with a “very diminished” and “very weakened” flow compared to yesterday. Meanwhile, in the lava delta in the Las Hoyas area, the wash runs over previous lavas without new contributions to the sea.
The situation at the moment is one of weak degassing in the volcanic building. Video at 1:00 pm Canary Time / The situation at the moment is of weak degassing in the volcanic edifice. Video at 1:00 pm Canarian time pic.twitter.com/4bXnQttFBO
— INVOLCAN (@involcan) December 14, 2021
Morcuende pointed out that the only parameter that continues to register very high values is sulfur dioxide (SO2), especially in the volcanic plume, where it continues to reach an “enormous” amount of tons per day. But nevertheless, highlighted that it is a variable that, “with small pulses from time to time”, it continues to maintain a declining attitude since September 23.
Despite all these observables of a clear decrease in the activity of the volcano, Pevolca’s technical director stressed that “we still have to keep waiting” to be able to affirm that the eruption has come to an end, since “the impression can be one and the reality can be another”. He added that the attitude of the Scientific Committee has been “clearly one of prudence, calm and waiting”, because “in principle this is going reasonably well, but nothing more.”
In this regard, Miguel Ángel Morcuende recalled that already last Monday the eruption presented a situation “similar” to today and yet yesterday there was “an important pulse, with a significant outflow of lava that came to worry, especially about the width that it had, which could be estimated at 200 meters at times “.
Similarly, he warned that although the seismicity is very low, both at intermediate depths, between 10 and 15 km, and at depths of more than 20 km, today, around 10.15 am, a 3.5 magnitude earthquake has been recorded (mbLg) at a depth of 10 kilometers.
Regarding the content of the Scientific Committee’s report, it is indicated that the height of the plume dispersion cloud is 2,200 meters, in a W-SW direction.
An INVOLCAN team is monitoring the emission of gases in the surroundings of the main volcanic edifice / An INVOLCAN team is monitoring the emission of gases in the surroundings of the main volcanic edifice pic.twitter.com/S5uf6HGODs
— INVOLCAN (@involcan) December 14, 2021
Regarding the meteorology, the winds have a predominance of a weak N component, which intensifies up to 20 km / h, and is rolling to the NW when it ascends. Between 1,500 and 5,000 meters there is a weak NW wind, intensified with height. The thermal inversion is slight and is at 1,100 meters. In addition, there is a probability of weak to moderate rainfall in the second half of the day and tomorrow, especially in the north.
The arrangement of the volcanic plume is oriented slightly to the E-SE and to the E in the higher strata. This represents an unfavorable scenario for the aeronautical operations of La Palma Airport.
In relation to the quality of the air associated with sulfur dioxide, yesterday the extremely unfavorable levels were exceeded in El Paso, Los Llanos and Tazacorte between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m., which forced the confinement of the population during those hours. In the afternoon, all the values fell in the stations of the island. Today the values have fallen below the threshold values.
On PM10 particles, there have been a process of generalized increase in the concentrations that have been registered in all the stations. A peak of greater intensity has been registered early yesterday and late at night in Los Llanos and the values in general have been good or reasonably good in most of the island’s stations, although there has been an increase concentration in Los Llanos, which places air quality levels unfavorable. In the rest of the stations, the levels are still either good or reasonably good.
On the other hand, about housed in hotels, there are 551 people, four more than yesterday. Of the total, 395 are staying in Fuencaliente, 69 in Los Llanos de Aridane and the remaining 87 in Breña Baja, managed by the Red Cross and municipal services. In addition, there are 43 dependent people cared for in insular health centers.