Lava from the volcano on the Spanish island rolls slowly towards the sea | national news
By DANIEL ROCA and BARRY HATTON Associated Press
LOS LLANOS DE ARIDANE, Canary Islands (AP) – Lava flowing from a volcano in the Spanish Canary Islands on Tuesday accelerated its way to the sea, but scientists said it was impossible to estimate when the flow black and red with fusion the boulder would reach the shore.
Authorities said lava moved to the island of La Palma within 800 meters (875 yards) of the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday morning, nine days after the volcano erupted. When it does eventually encounter seawater, the lava could set off explosions and release toxic gases.
In the afternoon, officials said various factors dictated the unpredictable speed of the lava flow, including its departure from a path on a previous flow that had hardened. The cooled river of lava had helped the moving flow to slide.
“The lava cools over time and encounters uneven ground, which slows it down,” said Miguel Ángel Morcuende, technical director of the Canary Islands Emergency Response Department. “And if he gets off the freeway he was taking, it slows him down even more because he stretches wider.”
A small hill and built-up area was also in the lava path, and the shore area is flatter than the hills over which the lava flowed.
Authorities have nervously waited for days for when lava from the September 19 eruption reaches the Atlantic, but the volcano has been erratic. After calming down on Monday, the volcano became more explosive again overnight.