I have been following the last events of Cumbre Vieja eruption since it started last month. Trying to grasp some basic knowledge of volcanology I have seen the eruption is classified as VEI-3 in the English Wikipedia and VEI-2 in the Spanish Wikipedia. According to the ejected volume it makes sense to say it is a VEI-3, but the experts on public television in Spain are not being that focused on the ejected volume but the type of eruption, which is Strombolian, so a VEI-2 for that case.

Here you can see the difference:



Which is the real category of the current Cumbre Vieja eruption?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ your question highlights some of the problems with the VEI indexing because the Cumbre Vieja eruption is a VEI 1-2-3 at the same time,i hope you can get a good answer to this question. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 26, 2021 at 14:14
  • $\begingroup$ The Volcanic Emergy Plan of Canaries (Pevolca) has raised the level of VEI from 2 to 3 due to the amount of ejected material. The spokeswoman of the committee, Carmen López, said that the mechanism of eruption and the explosivity remains the same. So this change of the VEI is strictly related with the volume ejection. It is still interesting to know if a VEI of 4 can happen because of the volume ejection even though the structure is still strombolian. link $\endgroup$
    – M_1
    Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 9:43

1 Answer 1


Wikipedia spanish entry says 20th november the Volcanic Explosivity Index raised from 2 to 3.

The reason is Canary Islands Volcanic Emergencies Plan (PEVOLCA) considered that the 20th november the emission of pyroclasts exceded 10 million cubic meters.

The volcano of La Palma, which erupted 61 days ago in Cumbre Vieja, has exceeded the emission of 10 million cubic meters of pyroclasts, for which the scientific committee of the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergencies Plan (Pevolca) has raised its rate of explosiveness from 2 to 3, on a scale of 8.

Source: lainformacion.com

I guess there was a mistake in english wikipedia entry when you posted the question as now it can be read:

For its first two months, the eruption was assigned a rating on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of VEI 2 (on a scale of 8). On 20 November 2021, the scientific committee of the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca) raised the rating from VEI 2 to VEI 3. Though in modern eruptions where it can be measured, eruption column height is often seen as a more accurate measure, in this case the change was based on the 10 million cubic metres of ejected material measure alone. The VEI rating was increased despite no change in the eruptive mechanism or explosiveness.

Source: wikipedia


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