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1 Oct, 2021 15:05

‘We have more drama ahead’: Major vent opens at La Palma volcano, prompting fears of further destruction (VIDEOS)

A new vent has blown open at the Cumbre Vieja volcano on Spain's La Palma island, spewing out a large stream of lava. Scientists say the fissure is a new “focus of eruption,” and there are fears over where the molten rock will go.

The new vent opened overnight some 400 meters (1,300 ft) to the north of the main eruption cone. The fissure has produced a large flow of red-hot lava, footage from the scene shows.

The fissure continued erupting throughout Friday, with smoke and hot gases protruding from the latest cone. Scientists with the Canaries Volcanology Institute have described the opening as a potentially new “focus of eruption.”

The opening of the fissure has prompted fears about the lava flow, which might head off in other directions and wreak more destruction on the battered island. Local authorities, however, have expressed hopes that the new stream will join with the main lava flow, which has already reached the sea. The molten rock has formed a 500-meter-wide (1,640 feet) delta in the sea.

“There is concern about the path of this new flow towards the sea, although it is expected to join up with the previous one within the next few hours,” the head of La Palma's council, Mariano Hernandez Zapata, told a news conference.

More houses were destroyed by the lava flow overnight, according to the official. The eruption has already obliterated more than 800 buildings, including homes, as well as community buildings such as churches and schools.

“We have more drama ahead, more people to take care of,” Zapata stated.

The disaster has prompted the evacuation of over 6,000 people, who are still unable to return to what is left of their homes and remain temporarily sheltered.

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The devastating Cumbre Vieja eruption started on September 19, with the volcano having already expelled some 80 million cubic meters of molten rock, according to regional leader Angel Victor Torres. The amount of lava produced is currently twice as large as was discharged during the last major eruption, 50 years ago.

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