2021 Cumbre Vieja volcanic eruption

volcanic eruption in the Canary Islands, (Spain)
(Redirected from 2021 La Palma eruption)

The 2021 Cumbre Vieja volcanic eruption was a volcanic eruption of Cumbre Vieja on the island of La Palma, one of the most active volcanoes in the Canary Islands, Spain. It is the first volcanic eruption on the island since the eruption of Teneguía in 1971.[5] At 85 days, it is the longest known eruption of a volcano on La Palma.[6][7]

2021 Cumbre Vieja volcanic eruption
LUN 8401.jpg
Eruption on 20 September 2021
VolcanoCumbre Vieja
Start date19 September 2021[1]
End date13 December 2021[2]
TypeFissure eruption
Strombolian eruption
LocationLa Palma, Spain
28°36′53.63″N 17°52′7.47″W / 28.6148972°N 17.8687417°W / 28.6148972; -17.8687417Coordinates: 28°36′53.63″N 17°52′7.47″W / 28.6148972°N 17.8687417°W / 28.6148972; -17.8687417
Map of 2021 Cumbre Vieja eruption.png
Map of the lava flow on 23 November 2021

The eruption began at 16:12 UTC on 19 September 2021 in a forested area[8] called Cabeza de Vaca.[9]

An earthquake swarm started on 11 September, which led to the volcanic eruption on 19 September.

Around 300 people from the local area were evacuated shortly after the eruption.[10]

The eruption led to the evacuation of more than 8,000 people, and the lava has destroyed more than 3,000 buildings.[11]

It is the most damaging volcanic eruption on La Palma since records began.[12]

Initially, when the eruption started, it had a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 0, when it was a purely lava eruption. But with the ashfall that began a week later, the Volcanic Explosivity Index of the eruption rose to 2.[4]

On 28 September, at around 23:02 UTC, the lava flow reached the sea at the Perdido Beach.[13]

On 20 November, the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) was upgraded from VEI 2 to VEI 3, when the ashfall reached 10 million .

On 12 December, the volcanic eruption broke the local record, when it reached 85 days of continuous activity. The eruption is the longest known eruption of a volcano on La Palma. Previously, the eruption of the Tajuya volcano in 1585 was the longest at 84 days. No reliable data is available about earlier volcanic eruptions, before Spanish colonization of La Palma in the 15th century.[6][7]

On 13 December, the volcanic eruption stopped. Noting weak seismicity and zero tremors, scientists said that a resumption of the eruption is highly unlikely, giving locals hope that it is over.[2][14][15][16]

On 25 December 2021, after 12 days with no activity from the volcano, the eruption was officially declared to have ended.[17]


  1. "Entra en erupción el volcán en La Palma". El País. 19 September 2021. Retrieved 2021-09-19.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Parra, Aritz; Hatton, Barry (2021-12-15). "After 3 tense months, Spanish volcano eruption may be over". Associated Press. Retrieved 2021-12-20.
  3. EFE (2021-11-20). "El volcán de La Palma sube el índice de explosividad por la emisión de piroclastos" [The La Palma volcano increases the explosivity index due to the emission of pyroclasts] (in Spanish). EFE. Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Overall Orange alert Volcanic eruption for La Palma". Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS). 2021-09-27. Retrieved 2021-09-27.
  5. Carracedo, Juan Carlos; Troll, Valentin R. (1 January 2021), "North-East Atlantic Islands: The Macaronesian Archipelagos", in Alderton, David; Elias, Scott A. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Geology (Second Edition), Oxford: Academic Press, pp. 674–699, ISBN 978-0-08-102909-1, retrieved 10 October 2021
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Spanish island volcano eruption hits local record of 85 days". Associated Press. 2021-12-12.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Lockdown lifted for 33,000 confined on La Palma due to bad air quality from volcano". El País. 2021-12-13.
  8. "Spanish Canary Island volcano erupts after weeks of earthquakes". the Guardian. 19 September 2021.
  9. "Lava shoots up from volcano on La Palma in Spain's Canary Islands". Reuters. 19 September 2021. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  10. "La Palma island volcano erupts spewing lava, ash and pyroclastic debris, local evacuations begin". The Canary - News, Views & Sunshine. 19 September 2021. Archived from the original on 21 September 2021. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  11. 20minutos (4 October 2021). "Últimas noticias de las erupciones volcánicas en La Palma". www.20minutos.es – Últimas Noticias (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 4 October 2021. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  12. "The new volcano is the most damaging among the historical eruptions on La Palma". Canarian Weekly. 20 October 2021.
  13. "La lava del volcán de La Palma alcanza el mar". elDiario.es (in Spanish). 2021-09-29. Retrieved 2021-09-29.
  14. Jones, Sam (2021-12-15). "'Tremor is zero': La Palma volcano may be calming down". The Guardian.
  15. Trujillo, Marco (2021-12-16). "Inside La Palma's volcano: lull in activity allows look into crater". Reuters.
  16. Vega, Guillermo (2021-12-15). "La Palma volcano comes to stop: 'It is not emitting lava, nor sulfur dioxide, nor registering seismic activity'". El País.
  17. "Spain's La Palma volcano eruption declared over after three months". BBC News. 2021-12-25.