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La Palma volcano: Activity ‘intense’ after recent lull, say scientists

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The volcano on La Palma in the Canary Islands was going through a period of “intense activity” on Wednesday after a 30-hour lull, scientists say.

The pause of activity was the third time the main cone has stopped emitting lava since the eruption started on September 19, according to the Spanish Military Emergency Unit.

Seismic activity on Spain’s La Palma has broken all records since the eruption began. The National Geographic Institute (IGN) recorded some 130 earthquakes from midnight to Wednesday morning.

“We are very far from those values that give us hope that the eruption is ending and I think the trend is still desperately slow in the descent,” said David Calvo, a volcanologist and spokesperson for the Canary Islands Volcanological Institute (Involcan).

“With those often spectacular spikes that attract so much attention with extraordinarily high values, but on average they are high values that keep us away from the possibility of an immediate end to the eruption.”

According to volcanologists, sulphur dioxide emission levels remain high.

Lava flows have partially or completely damaged some 2,860 properties across the island and scorched some 1,147 hectares of land, according to satellite imagery released by the Copernicus Emergency Management Service.

The Cumbre Vieja is now threatening to engulf a parish church that has so far survived the eruption.

The destructive activity of the main cone is accompanied by new cracks that threaten surrounding houses that have so far avoided the lava flows.

The area affected is estimated at 1,134 hectares.

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