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28 September 2021

Lava from Spanish island volcano is speeding towards sea raising fears of explosions and toxic gasses

28 September 2021

Lava flowing from an erupting volcano on La Palma in Spain’s Canary Islands has picked up pace on its way to the sea and is now within about 2,600ft (800 metres) of the shoreline, officials said.

While one of the two rivers of lava on the island has slowed down, the other is hotter and more fluid and is bearing down on the small town of Todoque, forcing evacuations, the Canary Islands emergency volcano response department said.

Officials have been expecting the lava to reach the Atlantic Ocean, but the eruption has been erratic.

The lava flow has destroyed 500 buildings and displaced more than 6,000 people since last week (AP) (AP)

After calming down on Monday, the volcano became more explosive again overnight.

When the molten rock eventually meets the sea water it could trigger explosions and the release of toxic gas, though authorities say they do not expect the slow-moving lava to create large disruption on the coast.

La Palma, home to about 85,000 people, is part of the volcanic Canary Islands, an archipelago off north-west Africa. The island is roughly 22 miles long and 12 miles wide at its broadest point.

Authorities have ordered residents to stay indoors to avoid the unhealthy fumes from lava meeting sea waters (AP) (AP)

Lava from the eruption, which began on September 19, has destroyed 589 buildings and 13 miles of roads on La Palma.

The lava now covers 258 hectares (637 acres), mostly farmland, according to a European Union satellite monitoring agency.

The eruption has been erratic since it began earlier this month (AP) (AP)

No fatalities or serious injuries have been reported since the volcano’s eruption, thanks to prompt evacuations.

The volcano has so far spewed out more than 46 million cubic metres (1.6 billion cubic feet) of molten rock, according to the Canary Island Volcanology Institute.

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