The volcano that has been spewing lava and emitting toxic gases for close to three months has fallen quiet with scientists expressing cautious hope that seismic activity on the island of La Palma had come to an end.
The Cumbre Vieja volcano began erupting on Sunday September 19 and has since devastated more than 1,220 hectares of land on the Canary Island of La Palma and destroyed some 3,000 buildings
But no seismic activity has been detected since late on Monday December 13 bringing hope to islanders that there was an end in sight to an ordeal that has seen some 7,000 residents evacuated from their homes.
“This is the longest length of time with no earthquakes since the eruption began,” said Canary Island volcanology institute Involcan in a tweet on Tuesday, although it added a warning.
“That does not mean the eruption has finished, because in the past this has been followed by a new surge in activity,” it said.
Ruben Lopez, a volcanologist with Involcan explained that since the eruption began this is the longest period that shows ‘minimal activity’.
“Hopefully it will stay that way and we can start thinking about the end of this,” he said in an interview broadcast on Spanish public broadcaster RTVE.
He shared an image of the mouths of the volcano which had previously been hidden by molten lava flow and plumes of smoke.
The Canary Island Scientific Committee said there were positive signs the eruption was coming to an end. “The decrease in observable activity seems to suggest an weakening of the eruptive process”
Lasting 88 days, it has been the longest eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano since records began.
Islanders who had lived with the constant roar of the volcano remarked on the sudden silence.
“First night in Tajuya in which silence in the protagonist. The volcano is not spewing lava, there is zero seismic activity and no tremors. Hoping the nightmare is at end,” wrote Tania Sanchez.
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