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After a month, officials say there are 'no signs' that Spanish volcano will cease erupting soon

La Palma Spain Volcano
Posted at 10:00 AM, Oct 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-18 11:12:08-04

LA PALMA, Spain — After a month of lava flow and ash clouds, officials in the Canary Islands say there is "no end in sight" to the eruptions from a volcano on the island of La Palma.

La Cumbre Vieja, the volcano on La Palma that first began erupting on Sept. 19, is still spewing ash and lava onto the Spanish island located off the coast of northern Africa.

Since the initial eruption, Reuters reports that 2,000 buildings have been destroyed, and 7,000 of La Palma's 83,000 residents are still unable to return to their homes. The Associated Press reports 37 miles of roadways on the island have been ruined.

The lava flow has carved a path of destruction through the island — a path that first reached the Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 29. When the hot lava falls into the water, it sends white smoke into the air that officials have warned could be toxic.

Even a month after the first belches of lava and smoke, there is little indication that the activity will cease anytime soon. Video taken this weekend shows lava leaping high above the island, and a cloud of ash forced the cancellation of 38 flights at La Palma's airport on Sunday.

Officials also detected 42 seismic tremors over the weekend, the largest of which measured magnitude 4.3 on the Richter scale.

"There are no signs that an end of the eruption is imminent even though this is the greatest desire of everyone," Canary Islands President Ángel Víctor Torres said, according to Reuters.

The current eruption has already exceeded the length of the volcano's last eruption. In 1971, an eruption of La Cumbre Vieja lasted about three weeks.

"We are at the mercy of the volcano," Torres told reporters, according to The Associated Press. "It's the only one who can decide when this ends."