A cloud of sulfur dioxide emitted by the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano in La Palma, Spain, has hit the Iberian Peninsula and is expected to be in the atmosphere by Friday, according to the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA).
Using predictions from the Atmospheric Monitoring Service model of the European Copernicus satellite observation program, the “intrusion of sulfur dioxide” is above 3,000 meters altitude, “therefore not affecting the concentrations of this gas at the surface”.
The maximum concentration of the gas should reach 46 micrograms per kilogram at an altitude of six thousand meters, forecasts the institute, which “closely follows the evolution of the situation”, according to a note issued on Tuesday.
A common product of volcanic eruptions, sulfur dioxide is usually found in small concentrations in the atmosphere. It is toxic when inhaled.
The lava from the volcano of La Palma, which erupted on September 19, currently occupies 656 hectares and has already affected more than 1500 buildings on that island of the Canary archipelago, where 20 earthquakes have been recorded in the last hours.