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Fear of toxic gases – curfew after volcano eruption on La Palma

The Plains of Aridane – Gas alarm on La Palma: In the next few hours, the 1000 degrees hot lava flow from the volcano Cumbre Vieja on the Canary Island will reach the sea.

And that can be dangerous. Because when it enters the salty water, harmful gases are released. There are only 800 meters to the water.

The Canary Islands Civil Protection Agency is taking action and imposing a curfew. The residents and tourists should not leave their homes. Doors and windows should remain closed.

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How dangerous is it when the lava flows into the sea?

Volcanologist Dr. Armin Freundt from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Center in Kiel explains to BILD: “In contact with the hot penetrating lava, sea water evaporates. The result is predominantly normal water vapor, but also fine droplets of sulfuric acid H2SO3 (sulfur from lava) and hydrochloric acid HCL (chlorine from sea water), which are of course very harmful, especially for the respiratory tract and eyes. “

The lava flow should have reached the seashore a few days ago, but the flow rate slowed down.

On Sunday evening, the tip of the hot stream was still around 1.6 kilometers from the coast, moving forward at a speed of around 100 meters per hour.

After a short break of about two hours, the volcano on the Canary Islands La Palma awoke again on Monday.

A large black cloud was standing over the volcanic cone, and lava was also coming out, reported the state TV broadcaster RTVE. Volcanologists had previously emphasized that such brief interruptions in a volcanic eruption are not uncommon.

The volcano erupted for the first time in 50 years and wreaked havoc on the island. Around 500 houses were destroyed, the lava now covers an area of ​​around 212 hectares.

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