October 18, 2021

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Science ship studies lava stretch from La Palma volcano into the sea: 'It's impressive' |  Science

Science ship studies lava stretch from La Palma volcano into the sea: ‘It’s impressive’ | Science

“Wonderful. For a geologist, it’s a historical thing,” explains Juan Tomas Vázquez after a night of scientific work, but also of human amazement, before the lava reached the ocean. Vasquez speaks from the science ship Ramon MargalvWhich landed last Saturday off the west coast of La Palma specifically to study this phenomenon. The first 72 hours they worked without rest day and night, To take a very detailed picture of before from lava. Now, without stopping, they are already analyzing after, after.

Working with the ship further south, Vázquez, a marine geologist at the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO-CSIC), says they have been mapping the underwater floor in the area where signs of magma traces can be found: fissures, gas emissions or deformations caused about orientation. “We were in that area that could potentially have an impact when they warned us that the lava was already coming off the cliff, that it was imminent to the sea, and we went there to control the whole process,” he explains.

Scientists aboard the IEO Ramón Margalef monitor the arrival of laundry into the sea. Photo: Arturo Rodriguez

They worked all night in front of the laundry, as evidenced by photos shared on social networks by IEO-CSIC accounts, both official and private accounts of scientists. “It wasn’t affected immediately, we don’t record the momentary effects of lava in the water plate, and we don’t expect these effects to start appearing until about 12 hours later,” Vasquez says. Most likely and immediately, they are waiting in envelopesIt is the heating of the water (which is now 25°C) and the increased acidity associated with the gases produced by washing.

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new delta

From that first observation of a lava waterfall, this marine geologist notes that the island is gaining a fan-shaped piece of sea from the sea: “There is a delta of lava growing towards the sea, but also laterally.”

“We will try to get a little closer to the sink, with all the necessary security measures,” Vasquez says, with the goal of making an initial map of what happens when this river of molten rock falls into the sea. “It’s possible that there are landslides going on underwater, we want to see them,” he adds.

Fortunately, Vasquez’s team was able to finish high-resolution radiographs of the sea floor in that area, working day and night to achieve high-resolution bathymetry. Now they will be able to compare and detail how and where this new rocky delta at La Palma is being created. “We had to move before potential lava could reach the underwater area and force us to move away,” Counting Monday Olga Sanchez, a marine geologist at the IEO-CSIC in Malaga, two nights after building that underwater map. “We had to work quickly, but fortunately in the end the lava didn’t arrive,” he explained to EL PAÍS, who was able to see them working on the ship. envelopes.

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