Volcano in the Canaries: lava has reached the ocean and raises fears of toxic gases

The meeting between lava and seawater can produce toxic gases and noxious particles.

The phenomenon is feared by experts, because it is potentially dangerous. Lava from the volcano that erupted ten days ago on the island of La Palma, in the Spanish Canary Islands, finally reached the ocean overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday, September 29. The event was announced shortly after 11 p.m. (midnight in Paris) by the Canaries Volcanological Institute (Involcan). “The lava flow has reached the sea at Playa Nueva”, reported Involcan on his Twitter account (link in Spanish). Images broadcast by regional Canary Islands television show incandescent lava entering the water amidst a large amount of smoke.

This encounter between lava, a rock melted at more than 1,000 degrees Celsius, and seawater around 20-25 degrees Celsius was particularly feared because of the production of toxic gases and harmful particles that it can cause. , which makes it potentially very dangerous. For this reason, the regional government of the archipelago has decreed a “2 nautical mile exclusion radius” around the place where the lava arrived. On Monday, residents of several neighborhoods in Tazacorte, a village near the coast, were also called on to confine themselves. “Inhalation or contact with acidic gases and liquids can irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory tract, and may cause difficulty in breathing”, warned Involcan.

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