Magma from La Palma volcano forms a ‘lava delta’ out into the ocean

Magma from La Palma volcano forms a 'lava delta' out into the ocean. image: twitter @ joint cyclone centre

MAGMA from the La Palma volcano has now formed a ‘lava delta’ spreading out almost 50 metres into the ocean

Magma from the volcanic eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, on the island of La Palma, took nine days to reach the coast. After pouring down the 100 metre high cliffs, it has now formed into a pyramid approximately 50 metres (164ft) high, shaping a ‘lava delta’ that spreads dozens of meters out into the ocean.

Geologists and volcanologists monitoring the volcanic activity believe that the best news for La Palma right now would be if a “lava tube” was to form, which would be the equivalent of a natural pipe made of volcanic rock that will carry the lava from the volcano directly into the ocean.

Jose Mangas, professor of Geology at the University of Las Palmas, says he is hopeful of a volcanic tube forming, as this would limit the lava’s destructive capacity, “In principle, the lava tends to seek a lava channel, but it does not always work that way”, he warned.

In order for such a volcanic tube to be created, very hot magma with low viscosity is required, and, above all, “a very high magma fall rate of many litres per second”, Mangas explained to 20minutos.es.

According to the professor, this action has occurred in previous eruptions in the Canary Islands, citing the eruption of the La Corona volcano in Lanzarote as an example.

He added that a strombolian eruption, which is what the Cumbre Vieja volcano is being classed as, is not the most suitable for creating volcanic tubes, as it contains a high percentage of pyroclasts, therefore lacking the fluidity required for the action to take place.

Stavros Meletlidis – leading the team of experts monitoring the volcano – is a volcanologist from the National Geographic Institute (IGN), and is of the same opinion, assuring that the formation of a volcanic tube would be the best result. He also stated that so far, the predictions the IGN provided to the Pevolca regarding the lava streams, have been fulfilled.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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