VIDEO: Lava from La Palma eruption finally reaches the Atlantic

LOS LLANOS DE ARIDANE, Canary Islands (AP) — Lava from a volcano on Spain’s Canary Islands has finally reached the Atlantic Ocean after wiping out hundreds of homes and forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents.

Columns of steam that experts had warned could contain toxic gases shot upward when the bright red molten rock tumbled into the Atlantic.

The area had been evacuated for several days. Lava from the Sept. 19 eruption on La Palma has destroyed at least 656 buildings and forced over 6,000 people to flee.

The ash cloud from the eruption has reached 7 kilometers (nearly 4½ miles) high.

One volcano expert says “we don’t know when this will be over.”

Previous eruptions have lasted for weeks or months.

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