Lava blasts out of new vent on La Palma volcano

SUNSETS SWEDEN / AFP

Lava flowed from a newly opened crack in the Cumbre Vieja volcano on Spain's La Palma on Friday, carving a different path down the mountainside from previous flows, and a rain of fine ash forced islanders to don masks and goggles.

A river of red-hot lava snaked downhill from the new fissure, which burst open late on Thursday around 400 metres to the north of the primary eruption site.

Multiple vents have opened since the volcano began erupting on September 19 but the Canaries Volcanology Institute described the latest opening as a new "focus of eruption".

Eduardo Suarez, a volcanologist with Spain's National Geographic Institute in Tenerife, said it was too early to tell if the new flow would endanger more homes.

A spokesperson for the Canary Islands' emergency services said no more evacuations had been ordered and the Pevolca emergency volcano committee was evaluating data on the new eruption.

About 6,000 people have been evacuated since the eruption began and are yet to return home. More than 800 buildings including houses, churches and schools have been destroyed.

Residents of Los Llanos de Aridane, one of the worst affected towns, have taken to carrying umbrellas and wearing eye protection as a precaution against the volcanic dust blanketing the streets and floating in the air.

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