Spanish volcano erupts at airport, area still tense

The airport on the Spanish island of La Palma has been closed again due to ash from a volcano that has been erupting for about three weeks.

MADRID – The airport on the Spanish island of La Palma closed again on Thursday due to ash from a volcano that has been erupting for almost three weeks.

Scientists said the blast was unexpected. The National Geographic Institute said it had settled in recent days, but continued to erupt volcanic lava in the Canary Islands, and 16 3.5-magnitude earthquakes shook the region in the past 24 hours.

The lava has displaced more than 6,000 people and destroyed more than 600 homes. Ash Clouds temporarily closed La Palma Airport last month.

The molten rock from the pit is now flowing under a so-called lava tube, hard lava, straight into the sea, officials said. It has allayed fears that it could spread widely and cause further destruction.

The German Research Center for Geosciences, which sent a team to La Palma, said the lava flow was 6,300 meters (6,900 yards) long, more than 1,000 meters (1,100 yards) wide, and 25 meters wide. (82 feet) thick

The center is still tense and unpredictable, said Thomas Walter, a volcanic researcher at the center.

“It is too early to say how this rift will spread,” he said in a statement.

The immediate evacuation helped prevent casualties from the eruption, and most of the island, home to about 85,000 people, remained unaffected.

The Canary Islands are located on the northwest coast of Africa.

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