Fears of Deadly Gases as Canary Islands Lava Pours Into the Atlantic

Fears of Deadly Gases as Canary Islands Lava Pours Into the Atlantic

From the moment lava began to flow, concerns were raised that the molten rock would eventually reach the Atlantic Ocean. These fears have now come true, as lava began to trickle into the ocean during the early hours of September 29, 10 days after the eruption started. The lava reached the ocean at an area known as Los Guirres beach or Playa Nueva.

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Images taken from the Ramon Margalef, a research vessel operated by the Spanish Oceanography Institute, shows the red hot lava creeping into the ocean and the resulting clouds of volcanic fumes. The magma, as it solidifies, will likely reshape the coastline, extending the volcanic delta even farther.

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Officials in La Palma have created an exclusion zone that extends for two nautical miles around the point where the lava was expected to reach the ocean. The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute issued a stern warning: “Inhalation or contact with acid gases and liquids can irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory tract, and may cause breathing difficulties, especially in people with pre-existing respiratory diseases.”

Cumbre Vieja shows no signs of letting up, and the eruption could last for several weeks or months. With toxic fumes now wafting through La Palma’s western coast, this natural disaster can’t end soon enough.

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More: 7 Dramatic Photos Show the Canary Islands’ Volcanic Eruption as It Nears the Sea.

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