La Palma warning: red-hot lava wall likely to hit the sea “imminently”
The Canary government has sounded an urgent warning as a wall of lava created by the volcanic explosion on La Palma is almost certain to hit the sea “imminently”.
Scientists say they have already detected toxic gases and have advised everyone within a three mile radius of the red-hot river to stay inside.The lava river is now travelling at 100 kilometres an hour, faster than before because it has been joined by a secondary flow, and late last night was just one mile from the ocean.
The Canary government says there is the likelihood of more intense explosions which could cause windows and glass to smash.And the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands has warned that the thermal shock between the lava and the sea will create a local danger for the people who visit or are in the coastal area .
They say the clash will produce plumes of water vapor loaded with hydrochloric acid due to the important content of chloride in the water of sea.
These off-white columns of water vapor also contain tiny particles of volcanic glass as a result of the reaction that occurs between lava, which is more than 1,000 degrees, and sea water, about 20 degrees.
Technical director of the emergency committee, Miguel Ángel Morcuende said the central area of Todoque, the last town in the direct path of the lava, has now been swallowed up and at 7pm last night, crossed the main road. Now it is heading directly for the coast. It is not known when the lava will hit the sea as “it depends on how the path of the lava adapts to the characteristics of the land” but it is likely to be today.More than 6,000 people have been evicted from the area since the volcano exploded eight days ago.
Mr. Morcuende said the average speed is about 100 metres an hour not because it is hotter but because it is coming from a greater depth of the volcano – about ten kilometres – which increases its fluency. Although the front of the river is cooling, its interior is still very hot, around 1,200 degrees, which makes it more fluid. The average height of the lava is between about four and six metres at the front and a maximum width of about 600 metres.
He warned that moments of greater explosiveness which can be felt within a radius of about five kilometres.Regarding the fall of ash in other areas of the island, this will depend on the direction of the wind. Although it does not affect health, it is important to avoid respiratory and eye problems by wearing FFP2 masks, goggles, gloves and long-sleeved clothing.President of the Government of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres confirmed today that the forecast is that the lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano will arrive “imminently” on the island’s coast.
He said he is currently in contact with the security services, pointing out that there are drones that are already in operation to observe the path of the lava, adding that if it “does not slow down, the foreseeable thing is that it will end up in the sea Like those that have occurred on the island of La Palma so far.”
“The forecast is that it can reach the sea and that it will be soon. A difficult moment, but it is clear that what we have to try is that as soon as possible we know “This is still a moment of maximum concern in which it is necessary to take extreme precautions,” he warned.