Volcano on Spanish island erupts for first time in 30 years; lava destroys homes and forces evacuations

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La Palma volcano

The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute reported the initial eruption near the southern end of the island, which saw its last eruption in 1971. Huge red plumes topped with black-and-white smoke shot out along the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge, which scientists had been closely watching following the accumulation of molten lava below the surface and days of small earthquakes.

Authorities immediately evacuated over 1,000 people, but Spain’s Civil Guard said it may need to evacuate up to 10,000 residents.

La Palma, with a population of 85,000, is one of eight volcanic islands in Spain’s Canary Islands archipelago off Africa’s western coast. At their nearest point, the islands are 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Morocco.

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