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Evacuation Thousands flee after Canary Island volcano erupts and lava flows destroy houses

La Palma, with a population of 85,000, is one of eight volcanic islands in Spain's Canary Islands archipelago off Africa's western coast.

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Lava is shot into the air on the island of La Palma yesterday

Lava is shot into the air on the island of La Palma yesterday

Lava is shot into the air on the island of La Palma yesterday

A volcano on Spain's Atlantic Ocean island of La Palma has erupted after a week-long build-up of seismic activity.

Thousands have been evacuated as lava flows destroyed isolated houses.

The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute reported the initial eruption near the southern end of the island, which saw its last eruption in 1971.

Huge red plumes topped with black-and-white smoke shot out along the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge, where lava had been building below the surface and after days of small earthquakes.

La Palma, with a population of 85,000, is one of eight volcanic islands in Spain's Canary Islands archipelago off Africa's western coast.

A 4.2-magnitude quake hit before the volcanic eruption.

As the eruptions continued, at least two open mouths belched bright red magma into the air that then flowed in tight streams down the mountain slope.

Itahiza Dominguez, head of seismology of Spain's National Geology Institute, said prior "eruptions on the Canary Islands lasted weeks or even months".

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