Satellites record images of La Palma volcanic eruption

Posted by Kapil on October 25th, 2021

La Palma volcanic eruption to continue for months!

As additional streams of lava spilled out over the weekend, satellites snapped amazing new images of the escalating volcanic eruption on the Spain-owned island of La Palma.

The resurgent volcanic eruption was accompanied by stones the size of houses rolling out of the crater of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, where part of its cone fell on Saturday (Oct. 9), as well as hundreds of Earth earthquakes up to 3.8 magnitude reported by villagers since Sunday. Cumbre Vieja, according to the accounts, was still far from sleeping.

The new lava streams squirted out of the hot volcano after the partial collapse of its conical crater on Sunday, as seen by the European Earth-observing satellite Sentinel-2 formed since the start of the eruption on 19th September.

The collapse allowed the hot lava to spread in new directions, reaching temperatures of up to 2,264 degrees Fahrenheit (1,240 degrees Celsius). A powerful sizzling torrent immediately emerged north of the initial lava river and made its way downhill toward the ocean, posing a threat to communities that had escaped the infernal doom thus far.

The northern stream has been travelling significantly faster than the original one, at 1,640 to 2,300 feet per hour (500 to 700 metres per hour), and reached the sea on Sunday (Oct. 10) just before 11 p.m. local time, according to

On Monday, the environment-monitoring service Adam Platform, which uses Copernicus data, reported that the volcano’s sulphur dioxide plumes were visible. It crossed the Atlantic Ocean and arrived in the Caribbean at the end of last week, but it has now mostly dissipated. The majority of the volcanic emissions are currently travelling eastward across Northern Africa.

Forecasting by the U.S.:

Using its infrared imaging equipment, the US weather forecasting satellite GOES East photographed the thermal signature of the growing eruption from its orbit at 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometres) above Earth. Last week, astronauts atop the International Space Station acquired stunning photographs of the volcano’s columns of smoke and ash from an oblique angle, giving them a three-dimensional perspective. The photograph depicts a grey plume rising above the mountainous island’s white clouds.

The plume is currently reaching altitudes of 2 miles (3 kilometres), creating local air traffic interruptions and periods of poor air quality. The eruption, however, was not powerful enough to send substantial volumes of dust into the stratosphere, where they could have long-term consequences on weather and climate, according to NASA.

As per Spain’s airport body AENA, a build-up of ash and dust on the runway led the authorities in La Palma to close the island’s airport. This is the second time since the eruption began that the airport has been closed due to ash build-up. Scientists are concerned that the eruption, which is Cumbre Vieja’s first in 50 years, will last for months.

Like it? Share it!


About the Author

Joined: July 15th, 2020
Articles Posted: 40

More by this author