Thousands of people have been evacuated from La Palma in Spain’s Canary Islands after a volcano erupted on the island on Sunday for the first time in 50 years.
For over a week, experts had been monitoring activity at the Cumbre Vieja volcano after tens of thousands of small earthquakes were detected below the surface. Just hours before the eruption, a 4.2 magnitude earthquake was recorded as the site was placed on high alert.
The volcano finally erupted on Sunday afternoon and continued to spill lava for over ten hours. The lava has destroyed around a dozen nearby homes, while 5,000 of La Palma’s 85,000 population have been rehoused at shelters and with relatives, authorities have confirmed.
The president of the Canary Islands, Angel Victor Torres, said on Sunday night that no new evacuations were expected as experts believed the island had already experienced the worst of the explosion.
“According to the technical committee, everything seems to indicate that there will be no new eruption points,” Torres said at a press conference.
Still, while authorities are confident that they are capable of stopping the spewing lava from destroying any more homes, it is unclear as to when this eruption will end.