Bombing the scorching lava flows of La Palma’s still-erupting volcano often is the solely strategy to forestall the destruction the molten rivers are inflicting, a Spanish politician has steered. Bombing runs could possibly be used, in keeping with its advocate, to redirect the lethal lava from flowing into populated areas.
The La Cumbre Vieja volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands entered its forty second day of eruptions Monday (Nov. 1). About 7,000 locals have been compelled to flee their properties as lava flows, fountaining from the volcano as much as 1000’s of ft into the air, have devastated properties, workplaces and huge tracts of land all through the southwestern a part of the island, Live Science previously reported.
According to the latest survey carried out by the European satellite system Copernicus, the lava has destroyed 2,519 buildings and now covers 3.6 sq. miles (9.4 sq. kilometers). With the island bracing for much more destruction because of a series of earthquakes that has shaken the land in latest days, Casimiro Curbelo, the president of the municipal council of La Gomera, a neighboring island, has steered that the lava flows could possibly be diverted by means of extra excessive measures — by getting a aircraft to bomb them.
“Isn’t there a plane that could fly and drop [a bomb]? It arrives, drops and boom. And it sends the lava in a different direction?” Curbelo stated throughout a debate on the Canary Islands’ Radio Faycán. “Maybe it’s madness, but I get the impression from a technological point of view that it should be tried.”
Curbelo’s suggestion stirred up criticism and produced a handful of memes depicting him alongside Bruce Willis within the movie “Armageddon,” during which the actor’s character is tasked with destroying an Earth-bound asteroid with a nuclear bomb.
But regardless of the derision aimed toward it, Curbelo’s outlandish proposal is not completely unprecedented. In 1935, when lava flowing from Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano started trickling perilously near the city of Hilo, the U.S. Army commanded by the longer term Gen. George S. Patton dropped 20 excessive explosive bombs onto the lava river. Following the bombardment, the lava move stopped, however the success of the mission has been disputed — each pilots and geologists who flew on the bombing mission believed that the move was slowing anyway, in keeping with the U.S. Geological Survey; and later value determinations made by the USGS help the conclusion that its halting was a coincidence, the USGS said.
More lately, in 1983, a extra profitable try was made utilizing dynamite to divert the lava move of the then erupting Mount Etna away from a a close-by village. Engineers positioned round 900 kilos (408 kilograms) of explosives, enclosed in water-cooled pipes, subsequent to the move. The purpose was to blast the lava river into a man-made trench. The experiment was profitable, in keeping with one of many engineers on the time, blasting many of the lava into a man-made trench the place it was redirected. But the explosion additionally break up one other a part of the lava stream, sending many locals out to the mountain with shovels to take care of the move’s unpredictable new branches.
Spain’s army has not responded to Curbelo’s suggestion, and neither has Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. However, Sanchez has promised to speed up assist deliveries to devastated residents.
The eruption hasn’t triggered any deaths, and life has remained comparatively undisturbed for the 85,000 residents who stay away from the island’s severely affected western facet.
The volcano is near reaching its 1949 file of 47 days for its longest time spent erupting.
Originally printed on Live Science.