Eruption inevitable, as some things were meant to be, evacuations by Spanish army avoid injuries

Giant rivers of lava tumbled slowly but relentlessly toward the sea Monday after a volcano erupted on a Spanish island off northwest Africa, destroying everything in their path while prompt evacuations helped avoid casualties.

The eruption occurred Sunday on the island of Palma, in the volcanic Canary Islands, along a ridge called Cumbre Vieja, where two fissures belched bright red magma into the air and set the glowing lava rivers in motion.

Scientists had been monitoring the area in recent days amid a surge in mostly small earthquakes, and authorities evacuated around 5,000 people.

The lava was moving at 700 meters (2,300 feet) per hour, according to the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute. Officials said they expected it to reach the Atlantic Ocean around sunset.

The lava left black swathes of destruction through the sparsely populated, green countryside and destroyed around 100 houses, officials said.

Authorities told people in areas where volcanic ash was falling to stay indoors with their doors and windows closed.

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