LA PALMA, Canary Islands (AP) — A Spanish island volcano that has buried more than 500 buildings and displaced over 6,000 people since it erupted last week stopped releasing large clouds of ashes and molten rock on Monday, although scientists said it was too early to declare the eruption phase finished.
Live footage from the public Canary Islands Television showed the Cumbre Vieja range in the La Palma island without the plume of ash that had been emerging from the main vent that opened on Sept. 19.
“The volcano of La Palma has entered in a phase of lower activity,” the Madrid-based Institute of Geosciences, IGEO, said in a tweet. “Let’s see how it evolves in the coming hours.”
Meanwhile, authorities in Spain’s La Palma island advised residents in four neighborhoods to remain indoors to avoid toxic gases that could be released as a result of lava at more than 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,830 Fahrenheit) meeting Atlantic Ocean water at a temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius.
Scientists say that the thermal shock results in the release of water vapor plumes loaded with hydrochloric acid and tiny particles of volcanic glass that can cause skin, eye and respiratory tract irritation.
The speed of the flow had increased since Sunday as a result of more fluid lava descending down a sharp slope toward cliffs onto the sea. The flow was some 800 meters from reaching the water early on Monday, authorities said.