Robot Probes Impact La Palma Volcano Lava on Ocean Life
More than 100 metres below the surface of the sea, a robot arm is gathering rock.
The ROV Liropus 2000 underwater vehicle has been deployed to monitor how the Cumbre Vieja eruptions are affecting the marine ecosystem around the island of La Palma.
The volcano began erupting a month ago and its lava has flowed into the sea.
The robot has sent back high definition images of underwater life, such as crustaceans, sponges and gardens of whip corals.
It has also shown the ash that now covers some of that marine habitat.
A team of oceanographers, geologists and microbiologists onboard the oceanographic boat Ángeles Alvariño will study the advance of the lava in the sea and take note of what it is doing to life down there.
Approximately 7,500 people have been forced to leave their homes since the Cumbre Vieja began erupting.
Scientists say the eruption could go on for three months.
The tension of not knowing whether the slow-moving molten rock would entomb their homes, farmland and businesses is taking a toll on local people.
The molten rock has covered more than 866 hectares (2,100 acres) and crushed or damaged about 2,185 buildings.
The underwater robot will take images and gather samples of rock, gas, fauna and water.
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