Updated Sep 20, 2021 - Science

Thousands flee after volcano erupts on Spain's La Palma

A river of lava approaches houses as Mount Cumbre Vieja erupts in El Paso, spewing out columns of smoke, ash and lava
A river of lava approaches houses as Mount Cumbre Vieja erupts, spewing out columns of smoke, ash and lava on the Canary island of La Palma on Sept. 19. Photo: Desiree Martin/AFP via Getty Images

About 5,000 people, including 500 tourists, on the Spanish island of La Palma, have been forced to evacuate after a volcano, known as Mount Cumbre Vieja, erupted Sunday, Reuters reports.

Driving the news: The explosion, which took place in a southern area of the island known as Cabeza de Vaca, came after several weeks of seismic activity, with authorities recording an earthquake of about 3.8 magnitude before the eruption.

  • La Palma is one of eight Spanish Canary Islands off Africa’s western coast, with a population of 85,000. The volcano last erupted in 1971, per AP.
  • Roads near the explosion remain closed, and local authorities urge people not to approach the area. No fatalities had been reported as of Monday, per Reuters.
  • The lava has already destroyed about 100 houses, according to Reuters.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.

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