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Volcano Erupts On Island
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Photo: Robaina

A volcano began erupting on the Canary Island of La Palma on Sept. 19, sending lava shooting into the air and streaming across the island. The eruption forced the evacuation of thousands of people from their homes and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses, as well as AGRICULTURAL land. Fortu- nately, no deaths or serious injuries have been reported.

Nine days after the eruption began, lava flowed over the island’s edge and into the Atlantic Ocean. Though it is only four miles from the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge to the ocean, much of the land is flat which slowed the lava flow.

Initial air quality readings showed no immediate danger in the area, but scientists warned residents that the lava hitting the ocean was likely to produce small explosions and toxic gases. La Palma is home to 85,000 people and many residents who have not been evacuated have been cautioned to stay indoors.

Although La Palma is located off the northwestern coast of Africa, it is one of Spain’s Canary Islands. La Palma’s economy centers on agriculture and tourism—both of which are being affected by the volcanic eruption. Spain classified La Palma as a disaster zone after the eruption began, which will provide some financial support for the island.

La Palma is a small island, measuring roughly 22 miles long and 12 miles wide at its broadest point. The lava has already started reshaping the island’s footprint where it has reached the water as the hot lava mixes with the ocean water.

La Palma is no stranger to earthquakes with its last eruption in 1971 that lasted for about three weeks. There are historical accounts of people seeing volcanic eruptions on the island all the way back to 1585, and radiocarbon dating done by scientists shows volcano activity as far back as about 5,000 B.C.! Experts say it’s impossible to determine how long the current eruption will last as previous eruptions have lasted weeks or even months.

Offshore Oil Spill Hits California Beaches & Wildlife

Offshore Oil Spill washed up on Beach.October got off to a bad start as a Pacific Ocean oil spill hit the California coastline.

Some people who live and work in the area saw an oil SHEEN on the water on Friday evening, Oct. 1, and could smell vapors from the crude oil. The company that runs the offshore drilling and production operation, Amplify Energy Corp., notified the U.S. Coast Guard of the spill the next day.

At least 126,000 gallons of crude oil escaped from an underwater pipeline into the Pacific, creating a 13-square-mile oil slick that made its way toward the Southern California coastline.

Toxic black globs came ashore, along with a foul smell. The company shut down the pipeline and the rest of the operation that’s several miles out at sea. So far, about 6 miles of coastline, including some important wildlife areas, have been affected.

Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr calls the spill an environmental catastrophe. “Our wetlands are being degraded and portions of our coastline are now covered in oil,” she said at a press conference. Certain beaches are expected to remain closed.

Amplify Energy promises to continue helping authorities with the painstaking cleanup efforts until as much oil as possible has been recovered. It could take weeks or even months.

October 2021