RED hot lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano in La Palma has reached the sea after 9 days of destruction, raising toxic gas fears.
Lava from the new volcano on the Canary Island of La Palma reached the sea last night at around 11pm local time, in an area known as Playa Nueva.
Footage shows the molten rock falling from a cliff some 100 meters high.
The contact with the seawater created a plume of black smoke, which drifted onto land due to the winds that blow at night from the sea toward the island.
According to local sources, the water has little depth in the area where the lava has fallen, meaning that it is likely that a new platform will be created soon.
“The lava flow has reached the sea at Playa Nueva,” the Canary Islands Volcanic Institute (Involcan) said on its Twitter account on Tuesday night.
The lava from Cumbre Vieja has devoured everything in its path on it’s journey to the sea, including nearly 600 houses and 21km of road.
Images from a European Union satellite monitoring agency show 258 hectares of mostly agricultural land, including banana plantations, totally covered by the lava.
Residents have been warned by the authorities to stay home due to fears of toxic gas clouds.
According to Miguel Angel Morcuende, technical director of the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca), the entry of lava into the seawater will send clouds of toxic gas into the air, causing ‘explosions and a fragmentation of the molten rock like gunshots.’
“The possibility that there will be a small shock when the magma enters the sea water, and that this small shock causes vapours which can be toxic.” Morcuende said.
The eruption has forced the evacuation of more than 6,000 people from their homes but has not killed or injured anyone so far.