Thousands of visitors have flocked to the island of La Palma this weekend to observe the ongoing volcanic eruption at first hand.
The Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma in the Spanish Canary Islands started erupting on 19th September at 3.13pm local time.
On 29th September, the volcanic activity hit headlines when the lava flow finally made contact with the sea.
With volcanic activity still ongoing, the local authorities announced that they were expecting around 10,000 visitors a day during the bank holiday weekend for All Saints’ Day on 1st November.
Miguel Angel Morcuende, technical director for the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca), said tourists were expected to flock to the island on Saturday, Sunday and today (1st November) to witness the eruption in person.
He also thanked visitors for helping to give the island’s coffers a much needed boost following a downturn during the pandemic, emphasising that La Palma is a safe destination to visit.
To encourage tourism, the La Palma government, with the cooperation of Pevolca, offered a free bus service to visit the volcano from a safe viewpoint.
Visitors were asked to cover their arms and legs and wear hats and face masks for protection while some opted for goggles and umbrellas to keep them safe from falling ash.
Leaving from the airport in Brena Alta, which boasts plenty of parking spaces, buses departed every 20 minutes to visit Tajuya and observe the volcano from a safe viewpoint.
Since the eruption started, the viewpoint has become a hotspot for tourists and residents wanting to see the ongoing eruption.
Given the expected high number of visitors over the bank holiday weekend, the authorities decided to restrict the access of private vehicles in the area around the volcano.
Last week, scientists recorded the sound of the lava oozing out of the volcano, which they described as being like the sound of broken glass.
The footage shows magma from the Cumbre Vieja volcano slowly advancing across a field. It can be heard making a noise that one expert likened to broken glass. The molten lava is seen gushing flames as it oozes across the field.
The images were shared by the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain (IGME), and researcher Jose Mediato said: “It sounds like broken glass, don’t you think?”