Lava starts flowing again on Spanish isle

·2-min read

Lava has begun flowing again from a volcano on the Canary island of La Palma after it briefly stopped for two hours earlier in the day.

Lava flows resumed and a large black cloud could again be seen above the volcano in Cumbre Vieja, according to RTVE state television.

The volcano had suddenly fallen silent earlier on Monday, after an eight-day eruption that has caused widespread destruction and led to evacuations and curfews.

Since the eruption began, it has been unclear how long it might last.

On Monday, a volcanologist said such interruptions were not unusual and that it was too early to say whether the eruption was finally over, in comments to RTVE state television.

The lava flow was approaching the sea on Monday and was only 800 metres away from the island's west coast, prompting the authorities to impose a curfew on several nearby towns, RTVE reported.

They warned that toxic fumes might form as lava, with a temperature of 1000C, comes into contact with salt water, creating hydrochloric acid.

The curfew applied in the towns of San Borondon, Marina Alta, Marina Baja and La Condesa, where people were told not to leave their homes and to keep their windows and doors closed.

No further evacuations were necessary, however, as all those thought to be in danger from the flow of lava had already been told to leave their homes.

The lava flow had been moving quickly towards the coast on Sunday, when it passed the town of Todoque, destroying San Pio X church in the process.

Members of the congregation swiftly managed to rescue a sculpture of Jesus on the cross, other holy statues and pictures before the bell tower fell, surrounded by thick clouds of smoke.

However, they were unable to save the altar.

The streams of lava were 600 metres wide and had been gaining speed as they rolled down the mountain.

Meanwhile, the island's airport has reopened, operator Aena said in a tweet.

The runway has been cleared of volcanic ash.

Two flights were scheduled, to and from La Palma, according to the operator's website.

Other flights showed up as cancelled on live trackers.

Travellers were otherwise able to take ferries to the island of Tenerife and lengthy queues formed as people lined up for the boats.

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