Cumbre Vieja de La Palma, Canary IslandsLava Volume 66 m3/s Total m3
The Cumbre Vieja (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkumbɾe ˈβjexa]; meaning "Old Peak") is an active volcanic ridge on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain. The spine of Cumbre Vieja trends in an approximate north–south direction, and covers the southern half of La Palma, with both summit ridge and flanks pockmarked by over a dozen craters.
The latest eruption, currently ongoing, began on 19 September 2021 in a forested area of Las Manchas locality known as Cabeza de Vaca. Lava flows from the new vent soon reached inhabited areas; thousands of residents were evacuated, and thousands of buildings have since been destroyed. The previous two eruptions on the island were in the 20th century, in 1949 (Volcán San Juan) and in 1971 (Volcán Teneguía).
This eruption is causing tragedy for many locals. Here's how you can help them.
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Live Streams of the La Palma Volcano Eruption
This livestream features camera 1 which is approximately 5km northwest of the Volcano. It usually stays pointed at the volcano but sometimes pans along the lava flow as it enters the ocean.Camera 1 24/7 HD 28.6348°N 17.8894°W
This livestream features Camera 1 as the main focus with a picture-in-picture (PIP) that rotates through cameras 2 and 3, still-image webcams, archived drone video, seismographs and related weather maps.Multiple Views 24/7 HD 28.754°N 17.889°W
Companion resources for the livestreams.
Frequently asked questions concerning the La Palma Eruption
The eruption is on the Canary Island of La Palma, off the coast of N Africa. It is a small area on the Cumbre Vieja ridge, on the SW side, called Cabeza de Vaca (Cows Head). The Canary Islands are part of Spain.
The eruption began Sunday Sept 19 2021 as a series of small fissures in the ground. Currently, there is a main cone and a lower vent growing into a cone. The lava flows in a narrow area down the west slope toward the sea, through the town of Todoque. It has covered houses and buildings in its path.
In 6 previous historic eruptions, lava reached the sea. Lava flow from this eruption reached the sea Tues Sept 28 at 11 pm. It continues to flow into the sea with some steaming and a small amount of gas that is dispersed in the wind.
A rooster can be heard crowing in the morning, on the live cam. During the 2018 Kilauea volcanic eruptions in Hawaii, there was a local rooster that became a fan favorite.
There are a series of magma pools under the island at shallow depth (7-14 km) and deeper (15-26 km). It's called magma underground, lava when it gets above ground. Basalt lava is thin (lower silica content) and high temperature (1100-1200 degrees C).
This area has effusive strombolian eruptions. Effusive lava fountains and thin basalt lava flows, plus strombolian mild eruptions with ash plumes and thicker lava. The VEI volcano explosivity index is low, 1-2.
Volcanoes do not burn, there is no smoke or flames. The black smoke is ash (pulverized lava), the lava fountains include small bits called tephra, and larger lava 'bombs'. The glow is hot gases and lava. Gases include mostly water vapor, CO2 carbon dioxide, and SO2 sulfur dioxide, plus others. Yes, lava contains 1-5% water.
As magma rises to the surface, gases exsolve (come out of the magma), and build up in bubbles, which drives the magma out of the ground. Gas bubbles vary in size, changing the height of lava fountains, and rate of lava flow. Lava flow is faster down steep slopes, and over smooth ground. It is slower on flatter slopes and over rough ground or older lava.
Volcanic eruptions are called vents when they first open, then build up into cones. Vents can stop erupting, new vents can open, and nearby vents can merge into one cone. Vents grow into cones as lava fountains throw tephra over their sides, or lava flows over them. Cones may crumble slightly from the rim or inside. This happens if material is loose, and from the pressure of lava erupting.
The force of eruptions usually does not change from mildly to highly explosive, because the type of lava, and underground structure remains about the same.
Volcanoes are not caused by the moon's gravity, ocean tides, solar flares, or other planets. A volcano will erupt the same during all phases of the moon, solar activity, and earth's orbit. A few volcanoes on coastlines may be slightly affected by high tides. They may squeeze the ground, causing slightly higher lava flow.
Volcanoes that are far from each other do not influence each other. Magma reservoirs and underground geologic structures are usually specific for each volcano.
There is no expected risk of a tsunami from this eruption. A 2001 report suggested a volcanic eruption might cause a large landslide from Cumbre Vieja ridge, causing a transatlantic tsunami. However, the authors noted there is no evidence of such slides in modern history, and no evidence of tsunami deposits on Atlantic coasts. Later research by several scientists concluded the report greatly exaggerated the risk. The Cumbre Vieja ridge is considered relatively stable. A much larger disturbance would be needed, and a landslide would likely crumble, rather than slide off in one mass. Waves would be local. Also, there has never been a transatlantic tsunami.