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Scientists cautious as erupting Spanish volcano falls quiet

La Palma’s longest eruption on record has destroyed about 3,000 local buildings, entombed large areas of farmland in lava and forced several thousand people to abandon their homes.

MADRID (AP) — A volcano that has been spewing lava in Spain’s Canary Islands for almost three months fell quiet Tuesday, though scientists warned the lull didn't necessarily mean the eruption is over.

Scientists recorded no seismic activity from the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma island since late Monday, the Canary Islands’ volcanology institute, Involcan, said in a tweet.

“That does not mean the eruption has finished, because in the past this has been followed by a new surge in activity,” Involcan said.

But it added: “This is the longest length of time with no earthquakes since the eruption began.”

Rubén López, a volcanologist with Involcan, said there was “minimal activity” at the volcano that first erupted Sep. 19.

“Hopefully it will stay that way and we can start thinking about the end of this,” he told Spanish public broadcaster RTVE.

La Palma’s longest eruption on record has destroyed about 3,000 local buildings, entombed large areas of farmland in lava and forced several thousand people to abandon their homes. No injuries or deaths have been directly linked to the eruption on the island of around 80,000 people.

Life has continued largely as normal on most of La Palma, where a section of the southwestern side is hardest hit.

The volcanic Canary Islands are a popular European vacation destination off Africa’s northwest coast.

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