Awestruck volcano hunter left shaking by La Palma eruption

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LA PALMA, Spain, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Eva Kubelkova is a volcano fan who travels the world in pursuit of active eruptions. Intrigued by reports of seismic activity on La Palma in Spain's Canary Islands, she booked a ticket there a day before a huge eruption shook the island.

"I was looking at the data...and I was thinking, a yellow alert for this La Palma volcano, this is not normal, there may be an eruption very soon," said Kubelkova, 32.

The next day, on Sept. 19, the Cumbre Vieja volcano began blasting out jets of red-hot lava that slowly wound their way to the sea over the next 10 days, laying waste to hundreds of buildings and farms, and forcing the evacuation of thousands.

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"When I saw how powerful it is with my own eyes, I was shaking all afternoon. This is really big and something new even after all those years looking at volcanoes," she told Reuters.

"This one, with its scary sound, was something special," Kubelkova said as she snapped photos of the smoking volcano from a white stucco roof terrace a few kilometres (miles) away.

Originally from the Czech Republic, Kubelkova was inspired during the COVID-19 pandemic to leave her job in the pharmaceutical industry and move to the volcanic Portuguese island chain of the Azores to follow her passion.

"For me... the lava coming out of the ground, I feel it like the sangre of the planeta (blood of the planet)...The stone is breathing, it is not dead," she said.

With the volcano's activity intensifying on Monday morning, Kubelkova is already planning on coming back for another visit. read more

"This one makes me feel I have to come back," she said, looking up to the eruption site.

"I want to hike to that place and see the crater and everything we have been observing here for two weeks."

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Reporting by Miguel Pereira, Marco Trujillo and Borja Suarez in La Palma Writing by Jessica Jones and Nathan Allen Editing by Mark Heinrich

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