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Volcanic ash cloud closes La Palma airport as new vent emerges

The recent volcanic eruption is the first since 1971 on La Palma, which has a population of 85,000.

Scientists say another vent has opened up on Cumbre Vieja, the volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma that has been erupting for a week, exposing tens of thousands of islanders to new dangers.

The airport was shut down on Saturday because of a cloud of ash spewing out of it.

The intensity of the eruption that began on September 19 has increased in recent days, prompting the evacuation of three more villages on the island, part of Spain’s Canary Islands archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean off northwest Africa.

Rivers of lava have been sliding down the mountainside towards the southwestern coast of the island, destroying everything in their path, including hundreds of homes.

Emergency crews pulled back from the volcano Friday as explosions sent molten rock and ash over a wide area.

Nearly 7,000 people have been forced to abandon their homes.

The recent volcanic eruption is the first since 1971 on La Palma, which has a population of 85,000.

The intensity of the eruption that began on September 19 has increased in recent days. [Emilio Morenatti/Pool via Reuters]
The intensity of the eruption that began on September 19 has increased in recent days. [Emilio Morenatti/Pool via Reuters]
People watch the lava and smoke rising following the eruption of Cumbre Vieja on La Palma. [Nacho Doce/Reuters]
People watch the lava and smoke rising following the eruption of Cumbre Vieja on La Palma. [Nacho Doce/Reuters]
Tourists wait for the ferry to leave the island after La Palma Airport was closed, suspending flights because of the accumulation of ash following the eruption. [Nacho Doce/Reuters]
Tourists wait for the ferry to leave the island after La Palma Airport was closed, suspending flights because of the accumulation of ash following the eruption. [Nacho Doce/Reuters]
The airport on La Palma shut down Saturday because of an ash cloud spewing out of Cumbre Vieja, which has been erupting for a week. [Nacho Doce/Reuters]
The airport on La Palma shut down Saturday because of an ash cloud spewing out of Cumbre Vieja, which has been erupting for a week. [Nacho Doce/Reuters]
Passengers wait at the closed La Palma Airport. [Nacho Doce/Reuters]
Passengers wait at the closed La Palma Airport. [Nacho Doce/Reuters]
Residents look on from a hill as lava continues to flow from Cumbre Vieja on La Palma. [Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo]
Residents look on from a hill as lava continues to flow from Cumbre Vieja on La Palma. [Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo]
Rivers of lava have been sliding down the mountainside towards the southwestern coast of the island, destroying everything in their path, including hundreds of homes. [Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo]
Rivers of lava have been sliding down the mountainside towards the southwestern coast of the island, destroying everything in their path, including hundreds of homes. [Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo]
Emergency crews pulled back from the volcano on Friday as explosions sent molten rock and ash over a wide area. [Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo]
Emergency crews pulled back from the volcano on Friday as explosions sent molten rock and ash over a wide area. [Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo]
The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute said another vent opened early Saturday. [Nacho Doce/Reuters]
The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute said another vent opened early Saturday. [Nacho Doce/Reuters]