Lava spread raises fears of further damage on Spanish island | World news
By RENATA BRITO and BARRY HATTON Associated Press
TODOQUE, Canary Islands (AP) – The advancing lava from a volcanic eruption in Spain’s Canary Islands slowed considerably, raising fears on Thursday that it would spread further across the country and destroy more homes instead to jump into the sea.
A giant 600-meter-wide river of lava slowed to four meters (13 feet) per hour after reaching a plain on Wednesday. On Monday, a day after the eruption on the island of La Palma, it was moving at 700 meters (2,300 feet) per hour.
Stavros Meletlidis, a volcanologist at the Spanish National Geographical Institute, said the dynamics of any eruption are constantly changing.
“The lava moves very slowly because it cools on contact with the atmosphere, by friction with the soil and construction materials and, above all, because its leading edge widens,” he told Radio Televisión Canaria.
As she slowed down, the lava thickened as well. In places, it stood as high as 15 meters (50 feet), authorities said. The lava now covers 166 hectares (410 acres) and has engulfed around 350 homes.
The slowing lava allowed more townspeople on its way to collect their belongings, with Guardia Civil police escorting them to their homes in Todoque, near the coast, on Thursday morning.
The Guardia Civil said seismic activity in the area, which increased before the eruption and remained strong, has stabilized.