European Union scientists said Thursday that the surface of Spain’s La Palma Island continues to expand as lava flows from the volcano into the Atlantic Ocean and hardens when it comes in contact with water.
The European Union’s Earth observation program, Copernicus, said on Thursday that its satellite image showed a D-shaped tongue of molten rock formed on the west coast of the island, measuring 338 hectares (835 acres) by the end of Wednesday.
The common commercial air in the Canary Islands of Spain was helping to eliminate the erosion of water vapor and toxic gases, causing lava temperatures of 1000 degrees Celsius (1,800 F) to merge with the ocean, where the water is 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 F).
But authorities were wary because Spain’s weather forecaster, AEMET, indicated that the wind direction could change after Thursday and bring toxic currents to shore and further inland.
Hydrochloric acid and tiny glass particles released into the air can irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory tract.
The direction in which the lava flow could go was also a cause for concern. The molten liquid from the volcano that first erupted on September 19 was still flowing down like a river and then falling on a peak in the Atlantic. But uneven terrain could flood Lava with its current path, spread to other areas, and destroy more homes and farmland.
At least 555 buildings and kilometers0 kilometers (1.6 miles) of roads and other basic infrastructure have been removed so far. Banana orchards, the source of income for many islanders, have also been destroyed or damaged by volcanic ash.
So far, more than 20,000,000 residents have been evacuated, and hundreds more have been advised to stay home to avoid possible inhalation of toxic gases. No casualties were reported among La Palma residents since the eruption began.
La Palma, home to about 85,000 people, is part of the volcanic Canary Islands, an archipelago in northwestern Africa. The island is about 35 kilometers (22 miles) long and 20 kilometers (12 miles) wide at its widest point.
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