Villagers in the firing line of the volcanic eruption in La Palma were given just an hour to gather up valuables and flee their homes before a deadly lava flow engulfed their homes.
Locals in the town of Todoque were told to act fast. Video footage from the hillside area of the Canary Island beauty spot showed the lava rumbling down the hillside towards the sea.
The news comes after a second earthquake hit the Canary Islands as the eruption of La Cumbre Vieja continues.
Canary Islands government chief Angel Victor Torres told SER radio: "There will be considerable material damage," he said. "We hope there won’t be any personal injuries."
The Cumbre Vieja volcano in La Palma erupted at 3pm local time, one hour behind the rest of Spain, on Sunday (September 19), sending huge amounts of lava oozing through nearby villages.
Mayor Sergio Rodriguez said that the lava “left absolutely nothing in its path” and suggested residents will not be returning home for a while.
So far no fatalities or injuries have been reported. However, there are fears about what will happen when the molten rock hits the cool water.
El Pais in Spain reported that the crisis team at the Canary Islands Volcano Emergency Plan (Pevolca) are worried about the reaction of the lava when it hits the sea, its natural outlet, because of the toxic gasses it will emit.
An exclusion zone has been established in the sea, running parallel to the coast, and on land, security forces will prevent access to the area.
The lava, on average six metres high, was initially expected to hit the sea last night at 8pm local time, but it slowed down.
Miguel Ángel Morcuende, the technical chief of Pevolca, explained Monday night: “We have had less activity in the volcano, less volume of magma mass. The activity of the volcano is slowing.
"The lava flow is in the Todoque neighborhood. It is still halfway to the sea. It is not going to arrive tonight.”
According to the US Geological Service, there are four main dangers linked to the ocean entry of lava.
These include “the sudden collapse of new land and adjacent sea cliffs into the ocean."
Also, "explosions triggered by the collapse, waves of scalding hot water washing onshore" poses a threat.
"And a steam plume that rains hydrochloric acid and tiny volcanic glass particles downwind from the entry point.”
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