Nature’s fury is on full display in the Canary Islands, as the La Palma volcano’s first eruption in half a century forced the evacuation of thousands of people as lava destroyed hundreds of homes.
Some particularly stunning drone footage captured the devastation as it happened on the island, which is a popular destination for tourists.
Drone footage captured the moment lava from Spain's La Palma volcano engulfed homes and transformed a backyard swimming pool into a steaming sauna of molten rock. pic.twitter.com/8WdMcmb84t
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 21, 2021
There have been no reports of deaths or injuries since the volcano erupted on Sunday, but the danger is far from over.
The island has been rocked by four earthquakes that occurred shortly after another eruption vent opened up.
Local officials are also concerned that lava flowing towards the sea could trigger chemical reactions that cause explosions and release of toxic gases. To prevent onlookers from getting too close in their boats and potentially being exposed to harmful gases, marine authorities have cordoned off the waters two nautical miles from the shore, in the area where the lava is heading.
There is really nothing to be done to slow the lava as it burns a trail of destruction across the island. Tuesday afternoon, residents in the town of Todoque were given a two-hour window to salvage what they could from their home before being forced to evacuate.
La Palma island is home to around 80,000 people.
Scientists don’t know how long this eruption will last, but a spokesperson for Spain’s National Geographic Institute tells the BBC that past eruptions on La Palma have lasted between 24 and 84 days.