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Spain’s La Palma volcano eruption declared over after 3 months

Click to play video: 'La Palma volcano officially ends eruption after 98 days' La Palma volcano officially ends eruption after 98 days
WATCH: La Palma volcano officially ends eruption after 98 days – Dec 25, 2021

Authorities on one of Spain’s Canary Islands declared a volcanic eruption that started in September officially finished Saturday following 10 days of no lava flows, seismic activity or significant sulfur dioxide emissions.

But the emergency in La Palma, the most northwest island in the Atlantic Ocean archipelago, is not over due to the widespread damage the eruption caused, the director of the Canaries’ volcanic emergency committee said in announcing the much-anticipated milestone.

Read more: Thousands of bees survive being buried in La Palma volcano ash for weeks

“It’s not joy or satisfaction – how we can define what we feel? It’s an emotional relief. And hope,” Pevolca director Julio Perez said. “Because now, we can apply ourselves and focus completely on the reconstruction work.”

Fiery molten rock flowing down toward the sea destroyed around 3,000 buildings, entombed banana plantations and vineyards, ruined irrigation systems and cut off roads. But no injuries or deaths were directly linked to the eruption.

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Click to play video: 'Taking a look at the world’s fiery, explosive volcanic activity' Taking a look at the world’s fiery, explosive volcanic activity
Taking a look at the world’s fiery, explosive volcanic activity – Dec 9, 2021

Perez, who is also the region’s minister of public administration, justice and security, said the archipelago’s government valued the loss of buildings and infrastructure at more than 900 million euros ($1 billion).

Volcanologists said they needed to certify that three key variables – gas, lava and tremors – had subsided in the Cumbre Vieja ridge for 10 days in order to declare the volcano’s apparent exhaustion. Since the eruption started on Sept. 19, previous periods of reduced activity were followed by reignitions.

Read more: Beyond the lava: Where are volcanoes erupting and how long can they last?

On the eve of Dec. 14, the volcano fell silent after flaring for 85 days and 8 hours, making it La Palma’s longest eruption on record.

Click to play video: 'La Palma volcano: Lava bursts from new opening as eruption enters 10th week' La Palma volcano: Lava bursts from new opening as eruption enters 10th week
La Palma volcano: Lava bursts from new opening as eruption enters 10th week – Nov 29, 2021

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called the eruption’s end “the best Christmas present.”

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“We will continue working together, all institutions, to relaunch the marvelous island of La Palma and repair the damage,” he tweeted.

Farming and tourism are the main industries on the Canary Islands, a popular destination for many European vacationers due to their mild climate.

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