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Experts say La Palma eruption in Canary Islands showing no signs of ending

Experts say La Palma eruption in Canary Islands showing no signs of ending
The volcano is seen erupting on La Palma in the Canary Islands on Tuesday. Photo by Elvira Urquijo A./EPA-EFE

Oct. 12 (UPI) -- The volcanic eruption on the Canary Islands is showing no signs of stopping, experts say, after its cone partially collapsed last weekend and sent more flows of molten lava.

So far, magma has spread across nearly 1,500 acres of land on the island of La Palma since the eruption began on Sept. 19.

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The collapsed cone has led to an increase in explosive activity, Spanish authorities said.

"The volcano is not showing signs that it is going to end tomorrow nor the next day nor in a week," Nieves Sanchez, a researcher from Spain's Geology and Mining Institute, told El Pais.

The lava flow has broken off into two branches -- one moving north toward the Atlantic Ocean and the other reaching the town of Los Llanos de Aridane on Monday.

Experts say it's possible that toxic gases were released when the lava engulfed a cement plant on Monday and started a fire.

The Canary Islands Volcanic Institute said more than 1,100 buildings have been destroyed by the eruption so far.

Authorities told about 3,500 La Palma residents on Tuesday that they can leave their homes after a lockdown period that came after the cement plant burned.

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The island's airport remained open on Tuesday, but carriers canceled nearly a dozen flights. The volcano produced more than 60 seismic movements on Tuesday, the Spanish National Geological Institute said.

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