World Teen - Main Article
Signup Teachers & Parents
La Palma Island Lab
News Bytes 12/6/2021 9 Comments

Scientists from around the world are flocking to an island in the Atlantic Ocean. They’re using cutting-edge technologies to examine a God-made phenomenon from land, sea, air—even space. It’s a rare opportunity to study a long-lasting volcanic eruption.

Using drones, high-tech instruments, and satellites, volcanologists analyze gas emissions and molten rock flows on La Palma, one of Spain’s Canary Islands. On the ground, they collect everything from the tiniest particles to “lava bombs”—powerful glowing projectiles the size of watermelons.

The goal at La Palma is to use a unique window of opportunity to better understand volcanic eruptions: how they form, develop, and even more crucially for islanders, how and when they end.

It’s amazing that for all humans’ technology and scientific leaps, researchers can only estimate what happens in the “underworld,” where magma is formed and melts any human-made equipment. The deepest humans have been able to drill into the planet’s crust has been just over 7.6 miles.

“There has been a lot of progress in the last 30 or 40 years in the understanding of geological and evolutionary processes, but it’s still difficult to know for sure what happens at [25 to 50 miles] of depth,” says Pedro Hernández, an expert with the Canary Islands’ volcanology institute.

Sadly, scientists often start from the inaccurate premise of evolution. Of course, God the Creator knows every detail of the world He formed (Genesis 1:1, Colossians 1:16)—even to the Earth’s core!

Volcanic eruptions are a once or, at most, twice-in-a-generation event in the Canary Islands, which lie 62 miles northwest of Africa. Some of the Canary Islands are still growing due to magma accumulating underneath and around them, like on La Palma.

There have been no deaths directly linked to the long-lasting La Palma eruption. That’s partly because new technologies—from drones that allow scientists a peek into a volcanic cauldron to supercomputers that run prediction algorithms—helps keep researchers safe.

The European Union’s Copernicus satellite program has produced high-resolution imagery and mapping of the island to track quake-induced deformations. That has led to near real-time tracking of lava flows and ash accumulation. Experts have also been able to observe how large plumes of toxic gas have traveled long distances across North Africa, the European mainland, and even as far as the Caribbean.

At sea, Spanish research vessel crews study the impact the eruption is having on the marine ecosystem as fingers of lava extend beyond the coast.

To date, most of the scientists’ work has focused on predicting how far the volcano’s damage will impact the surrounding community. Residents have already lost thousands of houses, farms, roads, irrigation canals, and banana crops. But the real question is when the eruption will end.

Esteban Gazel is a geochemist with Cornell University in New York. He says the Canary Islands are closely connected to activity going all the way to the core of the Earth. That makes predications even more difficult.

He says, “You can monitor how [the eruption] evolves, but saying exactly when it will die is extremely difficult.”

(Scientists from the Spanish National Research Council take measurements on the Canary Island of La Palma, Spain, on November 13, 2021. AP/Taner Orribo)

Leave a comment
  • Keep comments on topic and related to the subject matter of the article. (Off-topic comments will be deleted.)
  • Be respectful of everyone, including other readers as well as individuals in the news stories. Disagree politely.
  • Do not post links to websites outside of WORLDteen.
  • Keep personal information such as full name, age, location, and contact information private.
  • Read your comment before posting to be sure you have typed what you wish to say in public.
Sorry you are not allowed to publish comments. If this is the first time you are seeing this message please log out and back in. If you continue to see this message and believe this to be in error please reach out to member services.

Most recent comments

1st Comment!!!!!!

Wow. That lava is beautiful!

It is so wonderfull

It is so wonderfull

3rd comment

That is really cool! That pictures is awesome! The way the picture is taken it makes it look like those scientists are standing right next to the edge of the volcano, but I am sure they aren't! Also, I guess either I didn't catch it, or they just didn't say it. How long is this long lasting eruption? They said it was a long one, but like how long has it been going?

4th comment

I'm sorry, LAVA BOMBS?! that sounds dangerous but also pretty cool. Pretty soon those things are going to be weaponized and fired out of tanks or something.


I think it was sometime in mid September

Here's the article:

5th cmment

My, my, that is a beautiful picture!
@ Riley yes, it does look like they are right at the edge! :D


6th comment *

@Amelia B

Cool thanks.



Check out one of the interesting topics below
Explain IT!

Explain-IT trains you to understand the how’s and why’s of man-made inventions and ideas.

Learn More
Pop Smart

Pop! SMART provides tools that equip teenagers with the kinds of insights they need to wisely navigate today’s popular culture in a way that’s fun and engaging.

Learn More
Pie in the Sky

Everyone daydreams, and as it should be. Good dreams aside, our culture is a natural enemy of serenity and hope. God has equipped you for great things.

Learn More
People Mover

True stories are incredibly powerful. They bring meaning to our lives—communicating the truths we can’t afford to live without.

Learn More
Mud Room

Mud Room helps you relate to the news by exploring the details behind the stories in the headlines that relate to earth sciences.

Learn More
Globe Trek

Globe Trek will take you from the living room sofa to the mountains of Uzbekistan and from the screen of their smart phone to a Chilean plantation.

Learn More
Ka Ching!

ka-Ching! takes a look at important principles of money and economics through relatable examples from everyday life.

Learn More
Law 'N Order

Law ‘N Order captures your imagination through civics, focusing on the idea that everyone can make a difference in life.

Learn More

User login