Toxic gases caused by the arrival of lava into the sea are low risk



The potentially toxic gases produced by the fall into the sea of ​​lava from the volcano of La Palma represent a low risk for the population of this island of the Canary archipelago, experts estimated this Wednesday.

Furthermore, the fact that there is already an “open channel” between the Cumbre Vieja volcano, which has been erupting for eleven days, and the sea is “good news”, because it can avoid “new lava dams” on land, he said. to the public television David Calvo, spokesman for the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan).

The lava flow, which reached the ocean on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday on the west coast of the island of the Atlantic archipelago, continued to fall steadily into the water, generating “a lava delta that little by little is gaining ground from the sea,” as he pointed out. the Spanish Institute of Oceanography.

The moment of impact was feared for days due to the possibility of explosions, waves of boiling water and toxic gases. But the worst predictions have not come true.

«Right now we have a significant wind in the area that dissipates that column more [de gases] towards the sea, therefore the risk is much lower ”for the population, Rubén Fernández, a head of the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca), told public radio RNE.

“The dissipation of this gas is quite fast, it occurs locally, (and) there is a fairly significant exclusion radius that prevents the nearest towns (…) from being harmed,” said David Calvo.

As a preventive measure, residents of the closest areas in the municipality of Tazacorte had been confined since Monday, while the authorities established a security perimeter of 3.5 km on land and two nautical miles on the water.

The air, perfectly breathable

“The eruption has not affected the quality of the air, which is perfectly breathable,” tweeted the Cabildo de La Palma, the island’s government.

“Inhalation or contact with acid gases and liquids can irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory system and cause breathing difficulties,” had warned Involcan.

Scientists said that it was very difficult to predict when the lava would reach the sea, since its speed had varied in the preceding days and even came to a standstill at some point.

On Monday in the morning there was a notable reduction in activity at the Cumbre Vieja volcano. But by the afternoon of that day the eruption returned with renewed intensity, which made the laundry pick up speed and end this Tuesday reaching the water.

The volcano “has entered a phase of equilibrium, which means that during these days we will probably continue to observe this type of activity”, of great production of lava, said David Calvo.

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