Cumbre Vieja volcano spews lava fountains that reach the size of buildings;  see videos

Molten rock flow remains intense and shows no signs of cooling after part of the ridge collapses

Miguel Calero / EFEThree weeks after starting lava spill shows no sign of cooling.

Three weeks after the volcano erupts Old Summit, located in the Canary Islands, territory of Spain no Atlantic Ocean, there is no sign of decreased activity. On Sunday, the lava expelled from the mountain was as large as three-story buildings and several low-magnitude earthquakes hit the site – the largest of which was 3.8 points on the Richter scale. Six thousand people were evacuated and no one was killed or injured from the lava spill, but around 1,100 buildings and at least 30km of roads were destroyed, with houses, farms, swimming pools and industrial buildings in the predominantly agricultural area consumed.

The eruption began last September 19th and gained strength with the collapse of part of the volcanic cone on Sunday 3rd, which increased lava flow. Government experts have estimated that the largest of the lava flows measures 1.5 km at its widest point, while the delta of the new earth being formed where the lava is flowing into the Atlantic has reached a surface of 34 hectares. The meeting of lava with the ocean also raises concerns about the emission of toxic gases, which led Spanish authorities to determine changes in local navigation. The scientific committee that advises the government said that if the delta continues to grow towards the sea, parts of it could break. This would generate explosions, gas emissions and large waves, although they pose no risk to anyone outside the exclusion zone created by the authorities.

“We cannot say that we expect the eruption that began 21 days ago to end soon,” said Julio Pérez, the regional minister for security in the Canary Islands. However, the local government is trying to encourage the resumption of tourism, one of the bases of the local economy along with the planting of plantains from the Canaries. “This eruption is affecting a part of the island, but La Palma is still a safe place and can offer a lot to those who visit it,” said Mariano Hernández, the island’s top official.

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