World Iceland's volcanic eruption the longest in half a century
Volcano erupts on Spain's Canary Islands
The Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted on Spain's Canary Islands on Sunday spewing out lava, ash and a huge column of smoke after days of increased seismic activity, sparking evacuations of people living nearby, authorities said. Cumbre Vieja, which last erupted 50 years ago, straddles a ridge in the south of La Palma island, home to around 80,000 people. "The eruption started in the Cabeza de Vaca zone, in El Paso," the local government said on its Twitter account, adding that evacuations have started in the areas closest to the volcano."People are asked to be extremely careful and to stay away from the eruption zone to avoid needless risk," the government added.
It will be six months on Sunday that the volcanic eruption currently mesmerising spectators near Reykjavik first began, making it the longest Iceland has witnessed in more than 50 years.
The first lava began spewing out of a fissure close to Mount Fagradalsfjall on the evening of March 19 on the Reykjanes peninsula to the southwest of Reykjavik.
And the ensuing spectacle -- ranging from just a slow trickle of lava at times to more dramatic geyser-like spurts of rocks and stones at others -- has become a major tourist attraction, drawing 300,000 visitors so far, according to the Iceland Tourist Board.
Spanish PM arrives in Canaries as volcano erupts
Pedro Sanchez has arrived on La Palma where a volcanic eruption has forced evacuations.Aerial footage showed lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano spilling downhill and destroying several houses.
Iceland's sixth volcanic eruption in 20 years is already longer than the preceding one in Holuhraun, in the centre-east of the island, which lasted from the end of August 2014 until the end of February 2015.
"Six months is a reasonably long eruption," volcanologist Thorvaldur Thordarson told AFP.
The lava field that has formed this time has been christened "Fagradalshraun" -- which can be translated as "beautiful valley of lava" -- and takes its name from nearby Mount Fagradalsfjall.
Canaries: "Many" houses destroyed by the lava, 5,000 Evacuations
© AFP L E Volcano Extracted on the Spanish island of La Palma, in the tourist archipelago of the Canaries, continued Monday morning to spit its lava Who destroyed, according to the authorities, "many" houses down slowly towards the sea. Five thousand people in total had had to leave their home since the beginning of the eruption Sunday of the Cumbre Vieja, indicated the authorities.
Almost 143 million cubic metres of lava have been spewed out so far.
But that is actually comparatively small, representing just under a tenth of the volume of the Holuhraun eruption, which spewed out the biggest basalt lava flow in Iceland in 230 years.
The latest eruption is "special in the sense that it has kept a relatively steady outflow, so it's been going quite strong," said Halldor Geirsson, a geophysicist at the Institute of Earth Science.
"The usual behaviour that we know from volcanoes in Iceland is that they start really active and pour out lava, and then the outflow sort of decreases over time until it stops," he said.
Iceland's longest-ever eruption took place more than 50 years ago -- on Surtsey island just off the southern coast -- and lasted nearly four years, from November 1963 until June 1967.
- No end in sight -
After subsiding for nine days, the lava reappeared at Fagradalshraun in early September, occasionally spurting red-hot from the crater and accompanied by a powerful plume of smoke.
Volcanic eruption in the Canaries: the lava leads slowly, but how far?
© AFP L Lava lava from a volcano entered on Sunday eruption on the island of La Palma, in the Spanish archipelago of the Canaries, was only slowed on Wednesday afternoon, so much. He was no longer sure she reaches the Atlantic Ocean. Black fume columns of several hundred meters high continued to rise from this volcano, the Cumbre Vieja. The authorities pointed out that the ashes in suspension reduced visibility, and asked the inhabitants of the island to limit their travels by car.
It also accumulated in fiery tunnels beneath the solidified surface, forming pockets that eventually gave way and unfurled like a wave onto the shore.
The real number of visitors trekking to the rough hills to view the spectacle is probably even higher than the estimated 300,000, as the first counter installed on the paths leading to the site was only set up five days after the eruption.
In the first month, 10 fissures opened up, forming seven small craters, of which only two are still visible.
Only one crater is still active, measuring 334 metres (1,100 feet), according to the Institute of Earth Science, just a few dozen metres short of the highest peak in the surrounding area.
Nevertheless, the volcano is showing no sign of fading anytime soon.
"There seems to be still enough magma from whatever reservoir the eruption is tapping. So it could go on for a long time," said Geirsson.
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