La Palma lava engulfs more houses

·1-min read

Buildings near the volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma have been engulfed by rivers of lava, with the drama of the red-hot eruption intensified by the spectacle of flashes of lightning.

The lava destroyed at least four buildings in the village of Callejon de la Gata early on Saturday, Reuters witnesses said.

The Cumbre Vieja volcano began erupting on September 19 and has destroyed more than 800 buildings and forced the evacuation of about 6000 people from their homes on the island.

La Palma, with a population of about 83,000, is one of the Canary Islands off the West African coast.

Lightning flashes were seen near the eruption early on Saturday. A study published in 2016 by the journal Geophysical Research Letters found lightning can be produced during volcanic eruptions because the collision of ash particles creates an electrical charge.

The lava from the volcano has engulfed more than 150 hectares of farmland, most of it used for the cultivation of bananas that are one of the main crops on the island.

La Palma's airport has been closed since Thursday because of ash, Spanish air traffic operator Aena said.

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