Monday's science stories

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, 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.

White House aims to protect workers from extreme heat

Two pear pickers in Hood River, Ore. on Aug. 13. Photo: Michael Hanson/AFP via Getty Images

The White House announced a slew of actions Monday, including the start of a rule-making process at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to protect American workers from extreme heat.

Driving the news: The U.S. just had its hottest summer on record, with triple-digit-temperatures killing hundreds in the Pacific Northwest and exposing outdoor workers to dangerous conditions.

Sep 19, 2021 - Science

California wildfire has, so far, missed group of giant sequoias

A Sequoia tree wrapped in fire-resistant foil as the KNP Complex Fire reached Sequoia National Park. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

The KNP Complex Fire, which reached the western edge of Sequoia National Park Saturday night, has so far spared a group of giant sequoias, local authorities said on Sunday.

Why it matters: The forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including one that is considered the largest tree on Earth by volume. The giant trees are considered "national treasures," and protective measures, such as wrapping portions of the trees in fire-resistant foil, are in place to curb damage.

Sep 19, 2021 - Science

Elon Musk pledges $50 million toward Inspiration4 fundraiser for St. Jude

Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk pledged $50 million to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital hours after the Inspiration4 crew splashed down on Saturday.

Why it matters: The all-civilian spaceflight was created, in part, as a fundraiser for St. Jude to raise $200 million. The mission had received $100 million from billionaire Jared Isaacman, who purchased the flight, and raised an additional $60.2 million before Musk's contribution, according to CNBC.

Updated Sep 19, 2021 - Science

Huge wildfire reaches edge of Sequoia National Park

A plume of smoke and flames rises in the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, on Saturday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Sequoia National Park were working into the night after two wildfires merged to reach the Giant Forest on Saturday.

Why it matters: This forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree — the world's largest tree by volume. Park officials wrapped the redwoods in foil last week as the Paradise and Colony Fires, now known as the KNP Complex Fire, neared. Protection efforts appeared to be working overnight.