As lava continues to pour, an expert warns of an acid cloud that is ‘not good to breathe in.’
After a break, a VOLCANO on the Spanish island of La Palma began spewing lava again on Monday, raising concerns among experts about what would happen if the lava continues to flow towards the sea.
Hundreds of people have been hunkering down in coastal settlements over the last few days, but if the lava reaches the sea, the island might face a new round of troubles.
Experts have warned that if the lava hits water, it will cause hazardous vapour bursts containing hydrochloric acid.
Breathing the air would be dangerous, and it would irritate the eyes.
When the lava comes into touch with ocean water, a gas cloud known as ‘laze,’ a portmanteau of lava and haze, would arise, according to science journalist and volcanologist Dr Robin George Andrews.
He explained, “It produces a steam of hydrochloric acid, water vapour, and ash pieces.”
“Obviously, breathing in isn’t healthy.”
Volcanic explosions are also a possibility, according to the volcanologist, because contact with ocean water generates a “pressure-cooker environment” that might “throw out volcanic debris.”
Early Monday evening, lava began streaming from the Cumbre Vieja volcano for the first time in eight days.
“Activating and deactivating is rational and natural in the history of Strombolian volcanoes,” Miguel Angel Morcuende, director of the Pevolca reaction committee, told Reuters.
The lava has snaked its way down the mountain range, slowly making its way to the sea.
According to the European Union’s Copernicus disaster monitoring program, the lava has damaged around 500 homes, as well as churches and banana fields.
According to the Spanish property web Idealista, the damage is estimated to be over 178 million euros.
Around 300 people have been stranded in their homes in the coastal towns of San Borondon, Marina Alta and Baja, and La Condesa, as they wait for the lava to make the air unbreathable.
Binter, the local airline, has refused to resume flights to and from the island, claiming that the situation is still dangerous.
Flights were supposed to resume Monday afternoon, but they’ve been rescheduled for Tuesday.
Although no fatalities or significant injuries have been reported on the island, an estimated 15% of the island’s banana harvest is in jeopardy.
In comparison to adjacent Terenife or Gran Canaria, tourism provides a much lesser source of income for La.