La Palma volcano: the Chemical reaction that will occur if the lava from Cumbre Vieja reaches the ocean

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Following the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the island of La Palma, in the Canary Islands (Spain), which destroyed more than a hundred homes and forced the evacuation of thousands of people, the authorities’ concern is now focused on the arrival of volcanic lava to the sea.

It is difficult to pinpoint when it will occur. It all depends on the speed of the lava flow (the fluid mantle of lava), which slows down as it cools and crosses flatter terrain.

But experts and public officials agree that it will end up happening and, therefore, extreme precautions have been taken, expanding the exclusion perimeter on the coast to prevent people from approaching the area.

The main reason why the arrival of magma to the ocean is closely monitored is because of the chemical reaction that is generated when it comes into contact with salty water, and that “can generate explosions and the emission of harmful gases,” according to the authorities of the Volcanic Emergency Plan of the Canary Islands (Pevolca).

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