MADRID – An erupting volcano on a Spanish island off northwest Africa blasted another crack on its slope on Friday as authorities recorded eight new earthquakes up to 3.5 magnitude.
The new column is the third that has been opened since the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja crater on the island of La Palma on September 19th. The rapid evacuation of more than 6,000 people has so far prevented victims.
Authorities waited to see if lava from the new fissure would flow into the main stream that has reached the Atlantic.
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Officials monitored the air quality along the shoreline where the molten rock meets the ocean. The sulfur dioxide content in the region rose, but did not pose a health risk, the government of La Palma announced.
However, it advised residents to stay indoors. It has also been recommended that people on the island wear face masks and eye protection against heavy dropping of volcanic ash.
To date, the lava has hit more than 1,000 buildings, including residential homes and agricultural infrastructure, and buried around 338 hectares (835 acres).
La Palma, home to around 85,000 people who live mainly from fruit growing and tourism, is part of the volcanic Canary Islands, an archipelago off northwest Africa that is part of the Spanish national territory.
The island is about 35 kilometers long and 20 kilometers wide at its widest point. While the volcano is active, life goes on as usual on most of the island.