Incredible Aerial Images Capture the La Palma Volcano Mid-Eruption

Incredible aerial images captured the La Palma volcano spewing lava into the night sky as the island continues to deal with the fall-out of the eruption.

The Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Spanish island first erupted on Sunday—the first eruption in the Canary Islands for 50 years—sending volcanic ash, toxic gases and acid droplets raining down.

Scientists have measured the plume emanating from the mouth of "Old Summit" at two miles high, with up to 11,500 tons of Sulphur dioxide spewing in the air per day, according to the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute (INVOLCAN).

Aerial image of Cumbre Vieja volcano.
Aerial image of Cumbre Vieja volcano, in La Palma. A satellite captured the volcano erupting on September 21, 2021. Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies

Thousands of residents and tourists have been forced to evacuate as a wall of lava six foot high spilled from the volcano at a searing 1,075 degrees Celsius (more than 1,800 F), INVOLCAN stated. Houses, businesses, farms and infrastructure in the path of the river of magma have been engulfed in flames, which is now estimated to cover around 154 hectares.

INVOLCAN estimates locals could be grappling with the after-effects for up to three months, based on previous volcanic activity. Since September 11 some 26,000 earthquakes have been recorded, the strongest measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale.

Sunday's eruption on the island, home to around 85,000 people, opened up numerous fissures, with the force of the volcanic event "deforming" the land.

"The area affected by the eruption at Old Summit has been deformed more than 20 cm until last Monday, September 20 This deformation was caused by the magma's push towards the rocks around it," INVOLCAN noted, in a Spanish post.

On Tuesday, further eruptions occurred which were captured by a satellite, showing red-hot lava spurting from the volcano. The photos, taken just before midnight, were snapped by Maxar Technologies.

Overlaid image of Las Palma volcano.
An image of La Palma in the daytime overlaid with a snap of the erupting Cumbre Vieja volcano, taken on September 21. Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies.

Recording the activity, INVOLCAN said that evening, translated from Spanish: "The Canaria Seismic Network is recording in the last 4 hours a strong increase in the magnitude of the volcanic tremor in the Old Summit, which is an indicator of the intensity of the Strombolian explosive activity in the active mouths at the moment."

The flow of lava is on course to meet the Atlantic Ocean, and could produce clouds of gas and further explosions.

"INVOLCAN will continue to be updated on the evolution of this new seismic swarm at the Volcano Summit. We remind you that it cannot be ruled out to intensify the seismicity felt in the coming days, depending on the evolution of activity," they said on Tuesday, in a translated statement.

Spain's King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia are due to visit the island on Thursday. So far no casualties have been reported. The last time Cumbre Vieja erupted was in 1971, and one man was killed taking photographs near the lava flow.

Vídeo de nuestro compañero Iván Cabrera en el que se ve un remolino generado por el calor de la colada de lava / Video of our colleague Iván Cabrera in which a whirlpool generated by the heat of the lava flow can be seen pic.twitter.com/D8J0O2Rr0F

— INVOLCAN (@involcan) September 22, 2021