The story of a volcano: the Cumbre Vieja and its impact on air quality

IJEP 44(1): 3-16 : Vol. 44 Issue. 1 (January 2024)

Gastón Sanglier Contreras, Eduardo José López Fernández and Roberto Alonso González-Lezcano*

CEU Universities, Universidad San Pablo, Deaprtment of Architecture and Design, Escuela Politécnica Superior, Montepríncipe Campus, 28668 Madrid, Spain


This article focused on the emergence and volcanic evolution of the Cumbre vieja on the island of La Palma (Spain). Its many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions make for an extraordinary situation marked by an unusual contamination problem. The Canary Islands government used to air quality management under normal circumstances, that is contamination brought about by cars and industry is now confronted with an overwhelming different situation entailing the measurement of ultrafine particles, black smoke and coarse particles using scientific instrumentation. The study of the evolution of Cumbre vieja volcano ran from September 21st to December 5th of 2021. From this date onwards, the volcano was considered to return to normal conditions. The chronological analysis of the main magnitudes of the earthquake was additionally conducted, as well as the depths at which they occurred. Finally, the relevance and impact of the pollutant levels on the air quality of La Palma inhabitants were explored.


Volcanic eruptions, Air quality, Cumbre vieja, Earthquakes, Pollutants, Seismic phenomena


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