Erupting Spanish volcano turns 'more aggressive': officials

A volcano erupting off a Spanish island in northwest Africa opened two more fissures Friday, releasing lava. Authorities reported "intense" activity.

Erupting Spanish volcano turns 'more aggressive': officials

The new fissures were about 15 meters (50 ft) apart and sent fiery red and orange molten rocks down towards the sea in parallel to an earlier flow which reached the Atlantic Ocean earlier in the week.

Miguel Angel Morcuende (technical director of the Canary Islands emergency volcano response team) said that the volcano was "much stronger" almost two weeks after it erupted in La Palma.

Scientists recorded eight earthquakes of magnitude 3.5 over the night.

Officials stated that the eruption sent gas and ash nearly 20,000 feet into the air.

Since the Sept. 19 eruption, more than 6000 people were evacuated quickly to avoid any casualties.

The new area of solidifiedlava, where the molten rocks are flowing into the sea, extends to more than 20 hectares (50 ac).

Officials were checking the air quality near the shoreline. According to La Palma's government, the sulfur dioxide levels in this area increased but didn't pose a threat to health.

It advised residents to remain indoors. The island's residents should wear eye protection and face masks to protect against the heavy volcanic ash falls.

Scientists estimate that the volcano has emitted approximately 80 million cubic meters worth of molten rocks so far. This is more than twice the amount released in the volcano's previous eruption in 1971.

More than 1000 buildings have been destroyed or damaged by the lava, including farms and homes, and 709 hectares (1.750 acres) has been engulfed.

La Palma is home to approximately 85,000 people, who rely on fruit farming and tourism for their livelihood. It is part the volcanic Canary Islands which are an archipelago off north Africa that are part of Spain's territory.

It measures approximately 35 km (22 miles) in length and is 20 kilometers (12 miles wide) at its widest point. While the volcano is active, life has been relatively normal on the island.

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