What does it mean for the volcano to enter an explosive phase? This is what is happening

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The Cumbre Vieja volcano that began its eruption this past Sunday on the Canary island of La Palma has entered a more explosive phase. As explained by the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan) on Twitter, “the seismic network has been recording since the last 4 hours an increase in the amplitude of the volcanic tremor, which is an indicator of the intensity of strombolian explosive activity in the active mouths at this time “.

Although at the moment up to nine eruptive mouths are known, Involcan does not rule out that others may occur. The volcanic tremor refers to the vibrations that produce the blows of lava or solid blocks and the explosions of gas pockets inside the volcano. Passing through a crack or fissure produces a vibration that can last even days and that seismographs are able to capture.

However, although it is true that the activity is more intense than in the previous phases, it does not mean that it is dangerous. Carmen López, director of the IGN Geophysical Observatory, has explained to the Canary Islands television that more explosions occur because gas is released at a slower rate. That is to say, a smaller amount of gases comes out, but they concentrate and explode because their exit is slower.

No danger to people

As explained in this article in EL ESPAÑOL, a strombolian eruption “is characterized by small explosions of materials in a molten or pasty state, which can occur in just a few minutes or hours. Generally, These explosions are accompanied by spillage of lava flows“The lava flows that run through La Palma are viscous and flow less easily than other volcanic eruptions.

In conclusion, the phase change in a volcanic eruption is a natural process that occurs due to the gases inside leaving at a slower rate, concentrating and causing explosions. At this time the volcano gives off more energy, but this does not, in principle, pose a danger to people. Involcan has predicted that the Cumbre Vieja eruption can last between 24 and even 84 days.


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