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The lava from the volcano on the Spanish island of Tenerife is slowly rolling toward the sea



On Tuesday, lava flowing from a volcano in Spain's Canary Islands increased its speed as it made its way to the sea, but scientists said it was impossible to predict when the black-and-red stream of molten rock would reach the shore.


As of Tuesday morning, nine days after the volcano's eruption, authorities said the lava on the island of La Palma had moved to within 800 meters (875 yards) of the Atlantic Ocean. When the lava eventually comes into contact with seawater, it has the potential to cause explosions and the release of toxic gas.


As of the afternoon, officials had determined that a variety of factors had contributed to the lava flow's unpredictable speed, including its departure from a path over an earlier flow that had hardened. The flowing river of cooled lava had aided in the movement of the moving flow.


'As time goes on, the lava cools down and comes into contact with uneven ground, which causes it to slow down,' explained Miguel ngel Morcuende, technical director of the Canary Islands emergency volcano response department. It will slow down even more if it comes off the highway it was traveling on because it will spread out even more."


Besides a small hill and a built-up area, there were other obstacles to the lava's progress, and the shore area is flatter than the hills down which the lava has been flowing.


Officials have been waiting nervously for days to see when lava from the Sept. 19 eruption would reach the Atlantic, but the volcano has been erratic in its behavior. After a period of relative calm on Monday, the volcano erupted with greater intensity overnight.


Authorities have stated that they do not anticipate the slow-moving lava to cause significant disruption along the coast. However, Eugenio Fraile, a researcher at the Spanish Oceanography Institute, told Cadena Ser radio that when the flow reaches the ocean, only scientists wearing protective gear will be allowed to enter a security perimeter.


The National Geographic Institute reported that six earthquakes were detected in the area of the eruption on Tuesday, with the strongest measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale.


La Palma is a volcanic island in the Canary Islands, an archipelago off the coast of northwest Africa that is home to approximately 85,000 people. At its widest point, the island measures approximately 35 kilometers (22 miles) in length and 20 kilometers (12 miles) in width.


It is estimated that 589 buildings and 21 kilometers (13 miles) of roads on the island of La Palma have been destroyed by the lava flow caused by the eruption. According to a European Union satellite monitoring agency, the lava has now covered 258 hectares (637 acres), with the majority of it being farmland.


Because of the swift evacuation of more than 6,000 people, there have been no fatalities or serious injuries reported so far.


Locals, on the other hand, have lost both their homes and their means of subsistence at the same time. Agricultural production, along with tourism, is one of the island's primary economic drivers. The eruption's impact on crops and irrigation systems has endangered aviation and posed a significant health threat to those living in the immediate vicinity.


Because of a massive ash cloud, no flights were allowed to land or take off from La Palma's airport for the fourth day in a row. Volcanic ash is a danger to aircraft engines because of its flammability.


Following its weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the Spanish government announced that it would provide an immediate grant of 10.5 million euros ($12.3 million) to purchase 107 properties in order to rehouse local residents while also providing them with income assistance.


More assistance, including for the reconstruction of public infrastructure, will be provided once the current state of emergency has been resolved, according to government spokeswoman Isabel Rodrguez.


According to the Canary Island Volcanology Institute, the volcano has erupted and spewed more than 46 million cubic meters (1.6 billion cubic feet) of molten rock so far.

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