Incredible La Palma Volcano Satellite Photo Shows Lava Flowing for Miles

An incredible image captured by a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite shows lava flowing for miles out of the erupting Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma—one of Spain's Canary Islands, located off the coast of northwest Africa.

The image was snapped on September 30 by the ESA's Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission, which is comprised of two satellites that pass over both of Earth's poles every orbit, collecting data for emergency management, security and land monitoring purposes, as well as for climate change research.

The true-color Sentinel-2 image shows the flow of lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano, which extends all the way into the Atlantic Ocean—a distance of around 3.7 miles, according to the ESA. The lava has been highlighted with the help of an infrared-detecting instrument on the Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites.

The latest eruption of the volcano began on September 19 when a crack opened up on the mountain, spewing out plumes of ash and lava into the air.

The lava flowed down the mountainside engulfing everything in its path, including villages. By September 28, the lava flow had reached the ocean on the west coast of the island.

When this happened, clouds of white steam rose out of the ocean, while the coastline of the island appears to have been extended—as can be seen in the satellite image.

This new peninsula measured around 20 hectares in size as of late Thursday, according to the Volcanic Institute of the Canaries (Involcan).

As the lava flowed into the sea, plumes of acidic fumes were produced, which experts said could cause irritation to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract of people living nearby.

Vídeo de dron del nuevo foco emisor y la colada de lava obtenidas por nuestros colegas de @ES_UCL, @UOBFlightLab, @unipa_it / Drone video of the new emitter focus and the lava flow obtained by our colleagues from @ES_UCL, @UOBFlightLab, @unipa_it pic.twitter.com/zOb9vlR9sw

— INVOLCAN (@involcan) October 1, 2021

But Ruben del Campo, a spokesman for Spain's AEMET weather service, told AFP that strong winds will disperse the fumes towards the sea over the course of Thursday and Friday.

Despite this, local authorities told around 300 residents living in the nearby town of Tazacorte to stay at home as a precaution.

"Until we know that these areas are not at risk, these measures will be maintained," Ruben Fernandez from the Pevolca volcanic emergency committee said late Wednesday.

Lava continues to flow out of the volcano, while a new volcanic crack opened up late on Thursday, around 1,300 feet to the north of the primary eruption site, according to Involcan.

The institute posted spectacular drone footage of the new vent to Twitter on Friday (see above) in which a large stream of lava can be seen flowing out.

The island of La Palma has been declared a natural disaster zone, with the eruptions forcing around 6,000 people to flee their homes, although authorities have reported no injuries or deaths so far.

The Cumbre Vieja on La Palma, Spain
A satellite image captured by a European Space Agency satellite showing lava flowing out of the Cumbre Vieja, on La Palma, Spain. Modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2021, processed by ESA