Spain’s airport authority for the Canary Islands shut down the airport on the island of La Palma again Thursday because of accumulating ash from a volcano that has been erupting there for 18 days. 

From its Twitter account, the airport authority, Aena, said the facility was closed because of accumulating ash. In news agency video from the airport, the cloud of ash could be seen hanging over the runways. The airport was closed once last month because of ash as well.

Scientists monitoring the course of Cumbre Vieja’s eruption say it has been unpredictable. It settled down several days ago, but earlier this week, it reawakened. In the latest report from its Twitter account, the Canary Island Volcanic Institute said the activity had become more explosive in recent hours.

The German Research Center for Geosciences, which sent a team to La Palma, told The Associated Press the lava flow on the island was 6,300 meters long, more than 1,000 meters wide at its broadest point and up to 25 meters (82 feet) thick. 

The experts said the molten rock from the crater was now flowing down a lava tube beneath earlier, hardened lava, straight into the sea. That has eased fears it could spread wider and cause more destruction. 

The volcanic eruption that started September 19 has forced the evacuation of more than 6,000 of La Palma’s roughly 85,000 residents. The island is part of the Canary Islands archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa. 

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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