MADRID (AP) — A 4.5-magnitude earthquake shook La Palma in Spain’s Canary Islands in what was the strongest recorded temblor since volcanic eruptions began 26 days ago, authorities said Thursday.
The quake was one of around 60 recorded overnight, Spain’s National Geographic Institute said, as the Cumbre Vieja volcano continued to spew fiery rivers of lava that are destroying everything in their path and dumping molten rock into the Atlantic Ocean.
The flow from three rivers of molten rock broadened to 1.7 kilometers (about a mile), the La Palma government said.
Hard, black lava now covers 640 hectares (1,580 acres) on the western side of the island, authorities said, though most of la Palma is unaffected.
The lava has partially or completely destroyed more than 1,500 buildings, though prompt evacuations have so far avoided casualties. More than 6,000 people have had to abandon their homes.
La Palma is part of Spain’s Canary Islands, an Atlantic Ocean archipelago off northwest Africa whose economy depends on tourism and the cultivation of the Canary plantain.