The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute tweeted several videos of the eruption on the island of La Palma. Brits planning to travel to the holiday destination have also been put on alert, the UK Government confirmed this evening.
Other shocking footage showed a road being destroyed by a sea of molten lava.
Officials on the Spanish islands said a huge column of smoke rose up after the eruption at 3.15pm local time in the Cumbre Vieja national park in the south of the island, according to the Canary Islands government.
Shortly beforehand, local authorities had evacuated around 40 people with mobility problems and farm animals from the villages around the volcano.
According to the Civil Guard, more than 5,000 people have been evacauted from different districts in the municipalities of El Paso, Tazacorte and Los Llanos de Aridane.
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Yesterday it was reported that experts said an eruption was not yet imminent, despite there being an intensification of earthquakes near the surface.
This prediction turned out to be wrong after footage showed molten lava spewing from the volcano.
This came shortly after geologists reported an accumulation of molten rock under Cumbre Vieja – which has sat dormant since 1971 – earlier this week.
Further investigations revealed a 15cm deformation of rock in Cumbre Vieja where the earthquakes were happening.
This indicated that there was magma underneath the surface, putting pressure on the earth’s crust to come out.
The island’s inhabitants are no strangers to volcano warnings – which are listed in accordance with the level of risk, rising through green, yellow, orange and red.
Such was the risk that authorities decided on Monday to raise the threat level to yellow, requiring residents in at-risk zones to be prepared to evacuate.
They were also asked to report any sightings of gases, ash, changes in water levels or small tremors to emergency services.
The municipalities of Fuencaliente, Los Llanos de Aridane, El Paso and Villa de Mazo – home to roughly 35,000 people – have been affected.
La Palma, with a population of 85,000, is known as La Isla Bonita, or the beautiful island, and is one of eight islands in the Canary Islands archipelago.
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot