Volcanic ash forces closure of Spain’s La Palma airport

Active volcano spewing ash 9,842 feet high but destruction from lava remains stable

Alyssa McMurtry   | 07.10.2021
Volcanic ash forces closure of Spain’s La Palma airport

OVIEDO, Spain 

Ash spewing from the La Cumbre volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma forced the local airport to close Thursday.

After Binter and Canaryfly airlines announced they were canceling flights to the island, Spain’s national airport operator, Aena, confirmed that the airport would completely shut down due to accumulating ash.

It is the second time that the Cumbre Vieja volcano has made the La Palma airport inoperable since the eruption began 19 days ago.

By early Thursday, the volcano was spewing ash 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) into the air and the wind was pushing it toward the airport, according to Spain’s Department of National Security.

Earlier this week, scientists in Cuba said gases and ash from the volcano have crossed the Atlantic Ocean and reached the Caribbean.

Meanwhile, on La Palma, seismic activity and emissions continue, but destruction has been relatively limited in recent days.

That is because rivers of lava are now flowing through tubes formed by hardened lava, which transport the molten lava quickly to the sea without destroying more land.

The accumulated lava in the sea has created a 38-hectare (94-acre) delta.

Since the eruption, lava has wiped out 422 hectares (1043 acres) of land, including hundreds of homes, banana plantations, wineries and other businesses.

Around 6,000 people have evacuated their homes and experts cannot predict when eruptions will end.

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