Erupting Spanish volcano becomes “more aggressive”

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LOS LLANOS DE ARIDANE, Canary Islands (AP) – An erupting volcano on a Spanish island off northwest Africa opened two more cracks on its cone on Friday that spat lava, authorities reporting activity “intense” in the region.

The new cracks, about 50 feet apart, sent streaks of red and orange molten rock out to sea, alongside an earlier flow that reached the Atlantic Ocean earlier this week.

The volcano was “much more aggressive”, almost two weeks after it erupted on the island of La Palma, said Miguel Ángel Morcuende, technical director of the Canary Islands emergency response department.

Overnight, scientists recorded eight new earthquakes with a magnitude of up to 3.5.

The eruption sent gas and ash up to nearly 20,000 feet into the air, officials said.

The rapid evacuation of more than 6,000 people since the eruption of September 19 has avoided losses.

A new area of ​​solidified lava where molten rock flows into the sea spans over 50 acres.

Authorities were monitoring the air quality along the shore. Sulfur dioxide levels in the region have increased but do not pose a threat to health, the government of La Palma has said.

However, he advised local residents to stay indoors. He also recommended that residents of the island wear face masks and goggles against the heavy fall of volcanic ash.

The volcano has so far emitted some 80 million cubic meters of molten rock, scientists estimate, more than double the amount during the island’s last eruption in 1971.

Lava has so far destroyed or partially destroyed more than 1,000 buildings, including homes and farm infrastructure, and buried approximately 1,750 acres.

La Palma, home to around 85,000 people who make a living mainly from fruit growing and tourism, is part of the volcanic Canary Islands, an archipelago off northwestern Africa that is part of Spanish territory.

The island is approximately 22 miles long and 12 miles wide at its widest point. Life has continued as usual over most of the island while the volcano is active.

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