New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

Volcano erupts on Atlantic island; lava destroys some homes


A volcano on Spain’s Atlantic Ocean island of La Palma erupted Sunday after a weeklong buildup of seismic activity, prompting authoritie­s to evacuate thousands as lava flows destroyed isolated houses and threatened to reach the coast. New eruptions continued into the night.

The Canary Islands Volcanolog­y Institute reported the initial eruption shortly after 3 p.m. near the southern end of the island, which saw its last eruption in 1971. Huge red plumes topped with black-andwhite smoke shot out along the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge, which scientists had been closely watching following the accumulati­on of molten lava below the surface and days of small earthquake­s.

Vctor Torres, president of the Canary Islands, said that by 11 p.m. some 5,000 people had been evacuated from their homes. Most, he said, had found family or friends to take them in. The rest were in shelters.

La Palma, with a population of 85,000, is one of eight volcanic islands in Spain’s Canary Islands archipelag­o off Africa’s western coast. At their nearest point, the islands are 60 miles from Morocco.

A 4.2-magnitude quake was recorded before the eruption, which took place in an area known as Cabeza de Vaca on the western slope as the ridge descends to the coast. As the eruptions continued, at least two open mouths belched bright red magma into the air that then flowed in tight streams down the mountain slope.

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