Overall Orange alert Volcanic eruption for La Palma
in Spain

Event summary

Volcanic eruption La Palma can have a medium humanitarian impact based on the exposed population and vulnerability.

GDACS ID VO 1000031
Name: La Palma
Glide number: VO-2021-000163-JPN
Lat/Lon: 28.57 , -17.83
Event Date: 20 Oct 2021 UTC
Exposed Population 30km: About 91000 people within 30km
Exposed Population 100km: About 130000 people within 100km
Max Volc. Explosivity Index VEI: 2
Population Exposure Index PEI: 4
Inserted at: 18 Oct 2021 15:46 UTC

GDACS Score

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Virtual OSOCC
Meteo assessment
Satellite products
Analytical products
Spain - Volcanic activity, update (ECHO 19 Oct 2021)Tue, 19 Oct 2021 11:48

  • The eruption is ongoing in Cumbre la Vieja volcano, as the main flow of lava is running along the northern flank towards the western coast of La Palma, in an area south-west of the La Laguna mountain (south of Tazacorte).
  • According to the Department of National Security (DSN), the height of the ash and gas column reaches 4,200 metres. On 19 October, the population of El Paso has been recommended to stay indoors, while activities for two educational centres will take place on-line, as air quality might worsen due to the possibility of the lava reaching the coast of Tazacorte. 
  • According to the Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service (), which was activated on 19 September to support the damage assessment, up to 2,017 buildings have been affected by the volcanic event.
  • La Palma airport is operational, although there are delays in inter-island flights due to the volcanic ash cloud.
Spain - Volcanic activity, update (ECHO 14 Oct 2021)Thu, 14 Oct 2021 12:18

  • The vent located in the southeastern flank of Cumbre La Vieja volcano in La Palma has been reactivated while the northern lava flow is slowing down and the southern one is moving 50 metres per hour. The amount of total affected area by the lava flows reached 640,27 ha.
  • According to the Department of National Security (DSN), 800 people have been evacuated following the advance of the northern lava flow on 12 October. In addition, PEVOLCA issued other evacuation orders for some villages located in Los Llanos de Aridane Municipality.
  • National authorities are assisting those people who lost their houses and are providing desalination plants installed to supply irrigation water.
  • The Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service () was activated on 19 September to support the damage assessment and 42 maps have been produced so far.
Spain - Volcanic activity, update (ECHO 12 Oct 2021)Tue, 12 Oct 2021 12:57

  • As the effusive and explosive activity is ongoing in Cumbre la Vieja volcano, two main lava flows have been affecting the Todoque area and the industrial area of Los Lanos de Aridane.
  • The Department of National Security (DSN) reports 1,281 affected houses and a total area of 525,77 ha affected by the lava flow, including 132 ha of cropland.
Spain - Volcanic activity, update (ECHO 30 Sep 2021)Thu, 30 Sep 2021 12:03

  • The lava emitted by the Cumbre la Vieja volcano maintains a continuous flow over the sea. An intense seismic activity has been reported over the Fuencaliente Municipality area (southern La Palma).
  • According to the Department of National Security (DSN), 855 houses have been destroyed, 126 partially damaged and a total area of 476 ha affected by the lava flow.
  • The maritime exclusion and the evacuation orders for the coastal areas of San Borondón, Marina Alta, Marina Baja and La Condesa (Tazacorte Municipality) are still in effect.
Spain - Volcanic activity, update (ECHO 28 Sep 2021)Tue, 28 Sep 2021 12:41

  • The explosive and effusive activity of Cumbre la Vieja is ongoing and two lava flows are moving towards the western coast. The northern lava flow, located  800-1,000 m from the coast of Tazacorte, is the most active while the southern lava flow is slowing down. 
  • According to the Government of Canarias, 300 people living in the coastal areas of San Borondón, Marina Alta, Marina Baja and La Condesa (Tazacorte Municipality) have been evacuated. In addition, 200 people returned to their homes, while 5,600 are still evacuated.
  • A 2.5 km exclusion radius around emission centres is recommended to minimize the risk of pyroclastic impact and exposure to gases; in areas affected by intense ash fall, it is recommended to stay indoors. 
  • The General Directorate of the Merchant Navy modified the no-navigation zone one mile further north considering the increased possibility that the lava flow could reach the coast.
Spain - Volcanic eruption, update (ECHO 24 Sep 2021)Fri, 24 Sep 2021 12:33

  • Cumbre La Vieja volcano continues its explosive and effusive activity. On 23 September since 16.20 UTC (17.20 local time), a series of powerful explosions with significant ash and gas emissions have been reported by the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute (INVOLCAN).
  • The lava flow is 3800 m long and is located 2100 m from the coast and its speed has slowed down. The lava affected the area of almost 220 ha. 
  • At least 5,700 people have been evacuated across the Municipalities of Tazacorte, El Pais and Los Llanos de Aridane and 400 houses have been destroyed. 800 emergency personnel from all administrations are currently working in the field.
  • The aviation colour code has risen to red due to the eruptive column of gases and ash emitted on 23 September.
  • The Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service (EMSR546) was activated on 19 September to support the damage assessment and eight maps have been produced so far.
Spain - Volcanic eruption, update (ECHO 22 Sep 2021)Wed, 22 Sep 2021 12:07

  • The lava flow emitted by Cumbre La Vieja volcano continues slowing down in westward direction and the speed has been reduced from 700 to 10 m/h. According to PEVOLCA and Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service, the main eruptive vent is located approximately 3,6 km east of Todoque village, and the extent of the affected area has reached 154,37 ha.
  • The daily level of sulfur dioxide emitted into the atmosphere is estimated at 8,000-10,600 tons
  • According to the Spanish National Emergency Centre (CENEM), the number of evacuated people stands at 6,800 and around 200 houses have been affected as well as 200 infrastructure and 400 tourists have been relocated in Tenerife island.
  • The alert level of the volcano stands at Red (on a four-level scale from Green to Red). A 2 km exclusion radius around emission centres is recommended to minimize the risk of pyroclastic impact and exposure to gases. Furthermore, restrictions on maritime traffic are still active.
  • The Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service was activated on 19 September to support the damage assessment and four maps have been produced so far.
Spain - Volcanic eruption, update (ECHO 21 Sep 2021)Tue, 21 Sep 2021 12:01

  • The activity of the Cumbre Vieja volcano (La Palma Island, Canary Islands) is ongoing, a new eruptive vent (9 in total) has been reported 900 m from the main crater very close to the Tacande village (El Paso Municipality). The speed of the lava flow towards the western coast of La Palma is slowing down, as reported by the Government of Canary Islands. The alert level of the volcano stands at red.
  • According to the Spanish National Emergency Centre (CENEM), around 180 houses have been affected by the lava flow and six roads are still cut  across El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridane, San Andrés and Tajuya Localities.
  • The number of people evacuated has increased to more than 6,000 and school activities have been interrupted in three municipalities.
  • The Government of Canary Islands has issued an exclusion radius of two nautical miles from the coast and the area cannot be accessed for security reasons, all flights are operating normally.
  • The Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service () was activated on 19 September and produced two maps so far.
Spain - Volcanic eruption (ECHO 20 Sep 2021)Mon, 20 Sep 2021 12:45

  • The Cumbre Vieja volcano, located in southern La Palma Island (western Canary Islands), following several days of seismic activity, started erupting on 19 September at 14.15 UTC (15.15 local time). The eruption was characterized by lava fountains, lava flows and ash emissions from several eruptive vents on the western slope of Cumbre Vieja. Volcanic ash is falling in the vicinity of the volcano.
  • According to the Spanish National Centre for Emergencies, CENEM, at least 5,000 people have been evacuated (it is not unlikely that more evacuations may take place in the next hours or days, depending on the evolution of the event)  and some roads have been closed. People living in the area of Alcalá and El Paraíso have already been evacuated and the evacuation of El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridane and Tazacorte has begun, following the advance of the lava flow that has been reported across El Paso village.
  • The alert level of the volcano raised from Yellow to Red (on a four-level scale from Green to Red).
  • The Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service (EMSR546) was activated on 19 September.
Detailed event map. European Union, 2021. Map produced by EC-JRC.
The boundaries and the names shown on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the European Union.

Updates on volcanic activity (Smithsonian)

The Smithsonian/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report provides information about global volcanism on a weekly basis. Latest La Palma report has been published on 06 Oct 2021 09:44.
The eruption at La Palma continued during 29 September-5 October, characterized by Strombolian explosions, lava fountaining from multiple vents, lava flows, and daily ash emissions. Seismicity continued to be elevated with earthquakes located mainly 10-15 km deep (though some were 25-40 km deep) in the same area where the swarm first began on 11 September; dozens of events were felt by residents. Within the first eight days of the eruption, 21-27 September, an estimated 50 million cubic meters of material had been erupted. Just before midnight on 28 September the lava reached the ocean, producing a steam-and-gas plume; within 45 minutes the lava created a 50-m-high delta. The sulfur dioxide flux was as high as 16,760 tons per day. On 29 September the PEVOLCA (Plan de Emergencias Volc?nicas de Canarias) steering committee restated that the 2.5 km and maritime exclusion zones around the vents and ocean entry, respectively, remained in effect; residents were periodically allowed to collect belongings and care for animals and crops. The lava covered almost 4.8 square kilometers, burying or damaging 744 buildings. There were 185 evacuees in a local hotel. Ash plumes continued to rise from the active vents, and IGN noted a decrease in plume altitude to 3.5 km (11,500 ft) a.s.l. on 29 September and then a rise to 5 km (16,400 ft) a.s.l. the next day. Lava continued flowing to the sea along the same path. The lava delta had grown three times in size by 30 September to an estimated 0.17 square kilometers; the furthest edge of the delta was 450 m from the coast, it had spread laterally 600-800 m, and was as thick as 24 m. PEVOLCA lifted access restrictions for residents of Tazacorte, San Borond?n, Marina Alta, Marina Baja, and La Condesa (nearly 4,000 people); they had previously been warned to stay indoors to minimize coming into contact with potentially toxic gas plumes generated from the ocean entry. Restrictions for other residents living near the margins of the flows were also lifted. Two vents opened about 600 m NW of the main cone on 1 October and within two days had formed small cones. Lava from the vents traveled W and joined the main flow field downslope. The lava delta had extended 540 m from the coastline. Ash plumes rose to 3-5 km a.s.l. and drifted S on 2 October, and sulfur dioxide emissions were 3,401 tons per day. By 3 October an estimated 946 houses had been completely demolished and 128 had been partially damaged. The width of the flow field was a maximum of 1,250 m and lava tubes were identified in satellite images. The lava delta had developed four lobes being fed by multiple flows and had an estimated area of 0.32 square kilometers. In the afternoon the frequency and intensity of explosive activity increased and bombs were ejected as far as 800 m. Lava fountains rose hundreds of meters and ash plumes rose as high as 4.5 km (14,800 ft) a.s.l. The sulfur dioxide emission rate reached 16,000 tons per day. During 1900-1945 one of the new cones collapsed, which allowed the inner lava lake to spill out, sending flows downslope carrying blocks from the destroyed portion of the cone. Ash plumes rose as high as 4.5 km a.s.l. and explosions ejected bombs on 5 October according to a news report. Some explosions produced dense black plumes that billowed as they rose above the vent. The Alert Level remained at Red (the highest level on a four-color scale) for affected communities. Sources: 1-1-2 Canarias,EL PA?S,EL PA?S,EL PA?S,EL PA?S,EL PA?S,Gobierno de Canaries ,Instituto Geogr?fico Nacional (IGN),Instituto Volcanol?gico de Canarias (INVOLCAN) ,Jorge Eduardo Romero Moyano (University of Manchester)
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Latest media headlines

Articles: 7417 | About casualties: 8 | Last hour: 0

Volcán de Cumbre Vieja La Palma registra el mayor terremoto desde que ... 2021-10-20T09:16+0200.

La actividad sísmica no cesa en La Palma. La isla ha registrado esta noche un terremoto de magnitud 4,8 . Se trata del mayor desde que el pasado 19 de septiembre comenzara la erupción volcánica, según el Instituto Geográfico Nacional. El se
...(more)
Un volcán más explosivo y fuerte de lo esperado2021-10-20T09:15+0200.

Este volcán ha sido más fuerte de los esperado ya que durante años se tenía la percepción de que las erupciones históricas de Canarias eran mucho más tranquilas. Sin embargo, estudios recientes ya mostraban otras más explosivas de lo recogi
...(more)
Volcán La Palma, última hora en directo: Un terremoto de magnitud 4,8 ... 2021-10-20T09:03+0200.

Los expertos están muy pendientes de las coladas de lava, puesto que hay riesgo de que se desvíe ese magma y destruya el barrio de La Laguna. Tienen tienen puesta la mirada en la colada del volcán de La Palma que podría llegar al mar y prov
...(more)
Un terremoto de 4,8, la máxima magnitud registrada, se deja sentir en ... 2021-10-20T08:56+0200.

En concreto, la magnitud máxima registrada fue de 4,8 (mbLg), la más alta hasta la fecha, correspondiente al terremoto localizado al suroeste del municipio de Villa de Mazo a las 22.58 horas. Con intenidad IV EMS y una profundidad de 39 km,
...(more)

Estimated casualties (PAGER)

USGS estimates the number of casualties for each earthquake for the Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER) product.
The graph shows the current fatalities estimate.

Exposed population

Data, images, links, services and documents

For this events, GDACS has links to information from the following sources: EMSR (2), EC-JRC (31), (1), INGV (2), WMO (1), INFORM (2),