La Palma volcano: Large blocks of lava flow down as tremors shake villages

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Blocks of molten lava rolled off a hill on the Spanish island of La Palma as three-story buildings rolled up, while a series of aftershocks shook the ground on Sunday, three weeks after the volcanic eruption.

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The Spanish National Geological Institute (ING) said there were 21 seismic movements on Sunday, the largest of which shook the ground in the villages of Mazo, Fuencaliente and El Paso, with a measurement of 3.8.

The Spanish Institute of Geology and Mining said on Sunday that blocks of red-hot magma the size of three-story buildings cascaded off the side of the Cumbre Vieja volcano.


The Canary Islands Volcanoes Institute said on Twitter that lava flows, with temperatures of up to 1,240 °C (2,264 °F), destroyed some buildings standing in the village of Todok.

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Stavros Meletidis, an ING spokesman, told Reuters that a partial cone collapsed near the volcano’s emissions vent on Saturday.

“The collapse of the northern side of the Cumbre Vieja volcano has resulted in the appearance of large blocks of material and new flows that pass through areas that have already been evacuated,” Spain’s Department of National Security tweeted.

“Lava has reached the Camino de la Gata industrial estate and new buildings.”

Rivers of lava have destroyed 1,186 buildings since the eruption on September 19, the Canary Islands Volcanoes Institute said.

Miguel ngel Morcuende, technical director of the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Planning (PEVOLCA) organization, said the lava occupied 493 hectares (1,218 acres) of land.

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About 6,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in La Palma, where about 83,000 people live.

Lightning flashed near the blast early Saturday. A study published in 2016 by the journal Geophysical Research Letters found that lightning can be generated during volcanic eruptions because of the electric charge produced by the collision of ash particles.

(Reporting by Silvio Castellanos, Juan Medina, Writing by Graham Keely; Editing by Jason Neely)

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