The authorities on the Canary Islands have approved a series of emergency measures in the event of a major eruption on the island of La Palma, which has seen a week of volcanic tremors.
The Scientific Committee for the Special Civil Protection Plan and Emergency Response for Volcanic Risks said that there had been “intense seismic activity” on the island
Authorities have detected more than 4,200 temblors in what is being described as “earthquake swarm,” which could be indicative of an approaching eruption.
However the warning level remains on yellow being the lowest, rising through green, yellow, orange and finally red for an eruption.
The seismic activity is being watched and photographed by the Copernicus satellite and a Spanish Air Force Cessna 337G Skymaster aircraft, which has been deployed over to take thermal imaging photographs from above the island.
The local population in the effected areas which consist of five municipalities with a combined population of around half of the island’s 85,000 people, have been told to be ready to leave at a moments notice with packed bags of essential items.
The island’s Volcanology Institute said that over 11 million cubic metres of molten rock had been pushed into the Cumbre Vieja, a dormant volcanic ridge on La Palma.
The Cumbre Vieja volcano has erupted twice in the last century – in 1949 and 1971.
However there is little fear of the mega eruption which according to some experts could trigger a huge transaltantic tsunami which could hit the east coast of the United States.