MADRID (AP) – A 4.5-magnitude earthquake struck La Palma in Spain’s Canary Islands in what was the strongest tremor on record since volcanic eruptions began 26 days ago, authorities said Thursday.
The earthquake was one of 60 recorded overnight, Spain’s National Geographic Institute said, as the Cumbre Vieja volcano continued to spew rivers of fiery lava that are destroying everything in its path and throwing molten rock into the Atlantic Ocean.
The flow of three rivers of molten rock expanded to 1.7 kilometers (about a mile), the La Palma government said.
The hard black lava now covers 640 hectares (1,580 acres) on the western side of the island, authorities said, although most of La Palma remains unaffected.
The lava has partially or completely destroyed more than 1,500 buildings, although so far rapid evacuations have avoided casualties. More than 6,000 people have had to leave their homes.
La Palma is part of the Canary Islands of Spain, an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean facing northwest Africa whose economy depends on tourism and the cultivation of the Canarian banana.