La Palma Volcano Erupts Again, Has So Far Destroyed 1,000 Buildings on Spanish Island

A recently active volcano on one of Spain's Canary Islands off the coast of northwest Africa erupted again on Friday, blowing open two more fissures as the lava has already destroyed more than 1,000 buildings.

The volcano on La Palma island erupted nearly two weeks ago, forcing many residents to evacuate their homes to avoid the lava flow. The lava has so far covered around 1,750 acres and has destroyed or partially destroyed more than 1,000 buildings, including homes and farming infrastructure.

Authorities reported that two more fissures blew open on the Cumbra Vieja volcano's cone Friday, and reported "intense" activity in the area, raising concerns of further destruction on the island.

"There is concern about the path of this new flow towards the sea, although it is expected to join up with the previous one within the next few hours," said Mariano Hernandez Zapata, head of La Palma's council.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

La Palma
Since it began on September 19, the volcanic eruption on La Palma has forced thousands out of their homes, while lava has destroyed hundreds of houses, businesses and huge swathes of banana plantations. Above, the lava flow produced by the Cumbre Vieja volcano falls into the Atlantic Ocean at Los Girres beach in Tazacorte on La Palma early on September 30. Sunsets Sweden/AFP via Getty Images

The new fissures, about 50 feet apart, sent streaks of fiery red and orange molten rock down toward the sea, parallel to an earlier flow that reached the Atlantic Ocean earlier this week.

The volcano was "much more aggressive," almost two weeks after it erupted on the island of La Palma, said Miguel Ángel Morcuende, technical director of the Canary Islands' emergency volcano response department.

Overnight, scientists recorded eight new earthquakes up to magnitude 3.5.

The eruption was sending gas and ash up to almost 20,000 feet into the air, officials said.

The prompt evacuation of more than 6,000 people since the September 19 eruption helped prevent casualties.

A new area of solidified lava where the molten rock is flowing into the sea extends over more than 50 acres.

Officials were monitoring air quality along the shoreline. Sulfur dioxide levels in the area rose but did not represent a health threat, La Palma's government said.

However, it advised local residents to stay indoors. It also recommended that people on the island wear face masks and eye protection against heavy falls of volcanic ash.

The volcano has so far emitted some 80 million cubic meters of molten rock, scientists estimate—more than double the amount in the island's last eruption, in 1971.

La Palma, home to about 85,000 people who live mostly from fruit farming and tourism, is part of the volcanic Canary Islands, an archipelago off northwest Africa that is part of Spain's territory.

The island is roughly 22 miles long and 12 miles wide at its broadest point. Life has continued as usual on most of the island while the volcano is active.

Lava Flow
An erupting volcano on La Palma, a Spanish island off northwest Africa, has blown open another fissure on its hillside. Above, a cemetery tombstone is covered with ash from a volcano on La Palma on October 1. Daniel Roca/AP Photo