6,000 Evacuated After Volcanic Lava Flow Spreads on Spanish Island
On Monday RockDoctor (Slashdot reader #15,477) wrote: Regular readers may remember recurring concerns over the instability of the island of La Palma, in the Canaries archipelago [population: 85,000]. Estimates of the threat ranged from 100 megadeaths (from tsunami impacts on the coasts of about a dozen countries bordering the Atlantic — including the eastern seaboard of America) down to a 10- to 30- metre tsunami with a few thousand deaths in the Canaries and other Atlantic islands (Madeira, Azores).

To bring relaxation and good cheer, today we have the news that the volcano at the centre of these concerns is erupting for the first time in 50 years. While a hundred or so houses have so far been destroyed and around 5000 people evacuated from the path of the lava flow, some people are more sanguine — Spain’s Tourism Minister considers the eruption a “great attraction”, and indeed recent eruptions in Hawaii did see a significant amount of “Volcano tourism”. To be honest, I’m rather tempted myself — Etna studiously did not erupt during my last holiday there. Or should I wait for Vesuvius to go off again?

Here’s an update. “Seven days after a volcano on La Palma erupted, lava flow and ash continue to spread shutting down the local airport and leaving hundreds without a home,” according to one newspaper report (with several photos of the aftermath). “As of Friday, almost 6,000 people have evacuated.

“The government is working to locate emergency housing for the affected families as researchers are unsure when the ash and lava flow will stop.”

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports, “scientists said another volcanic vent opened up, exposing islanders to possible new dangers.”

The intensity of the eruption that began Sept. 19 has increased in recent days, prompting the evacuation of three additional villages on the island, part of Spain’s Canary Islands archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean off northwest Africa…

Emergency crews pulled back from the volcano Friday as explosions sent molten rock and ash over a wide area…

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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