A volcanic eruption in Spain’s Canary Islands shows no signs of ending after 85 days, becoming the longest eruption on the island of La Palma on Sunday.
The eruption has waxed and waned since it first began spewing lava on Sept. 19. Since then, it has destroyed nearly 3,000 local buildings and forced several thousand people from their homes.
On Sunday, after days of low activity, the Cumbre Vieja volcano suddenly came to life, producing loud explosions and raising a huge cloud of ash high into the sky.
Scientists say volcanic eruptions are unpredictable. Spanish experts initially said the eruption on La Palma could last up to three months.
In recent days, Mariano Hernandez, the island’s top government official, called the volcano “stable.”
“The fact is that all the major indicators have been low,” he said in an interview with Spanish state broadcaster RTVE. “But scientists can’t say exactly when it might end.”
He said experts continue to measure the number and strength of earthquakes in the area and local sulfur dioxide levels.
Authorities recorded 24 earthquakes between Saturday and Sunday, but none were felt by local residents.
Despite the damage, not a single person was injured or killed, which is directly related to the eruption. Most of the area covered by rivers of lava that dump molten rock into the sea is farmland.
On most of the island of La Palma, where the southwestern part was most affected, life continues as usual.
The volcanic Canary Islands, a favorite warm-weather European vacation spot, are off the northwest coast of Africa.