Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The La Palma Volcano Eruption

On Sunday the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma erupted. The lava flow from this eruption has already destroyed over 200 homes and led to the evacuation of 5,000 people. Like all of the Canary Islands the island of La Palma was originally formed from volcanic activity. Along with Tenerife La Palma is one of the most volcanically active of the Canary Islands.

Mapbox's Jonni Walker has used data from the Copernicus Rapid Mapping Team to create a bird's eye view map of the lave flow (shown at the top of this post). This map does an impressive job of showing the scale and direction of the lava flow.

You can view an interactive map of the lava flow which was created the Instituto Geográfico Nacional de España. The institute's map shows the extent of the lava flow, the location of the volcanic eruption and the location of all recorded earthquake tremors on La Palma recorded in the last ten days. 

Spanish newspaper El Pais has mapped out the forecast path of the lava flow over the next few days. A slowdown in the advance of the magma means that the lava flow has yet to meet the sea. The red areas on this map are those which are most likely to be affected by the lava flow.

It is estimated that the eruption has led to the emission of around 6,000-9,000 tons of sulfur-dioxide (SO2) per day into the atmosphere. The impressive animated weather map Windy includes a SO2 layer, which means you can view an animated forecast of where this S02 is likely to end up over the next few days. The map suggests that the SO2 is already drifting over northern Africa reaching as far as Turkey and Syria.

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