A 4.5-magnitude earthquake has shaken La Palma in Spain's Canary Islands in what was the strongest recorded temblor since volcanic eruptions began 26 days ago, authorities say.
The quake was one of about 60 recorded overnight, Spain's National Geographic Institute said as the Cumbre Vieja volcano continued to spew fiery rivers of lava that are destroying everything in their path and dumping molten rock into the Atlantic Ocean.
The lava has partially or completely destroyed more than 1600 buildings, about half of them houses, officials said, although prompt evacuations have so far prevented any deaths.
About 7000 people have had to abandon their homes, 300 of them on Thursday.
"This is definitely the most serious eruption in Europe of the past 100 years," Canary Islands President Angel Victor Torres said.
"The only good news is that... so far, nobody has been hurt," he said.
The flow from three rivers of molten rock broadened to almost 1.8 kilometres, the La Palma government said, but their advance has slowed to a crawl.
Hard, black lava now covers 674 hectares on the western side of the island, authorities said, although most of la Palma is unaffected.
Authorities advised locals against travelling by car because volcanic ash was ankle-deep in some places.
The volcano's plume was 2600 metres high as of Thursday.
La Palma is part of Spain's Canary Islands, an Atlantic Ocean archipelago off northwest Africa whose economy depends on tourism and the cultivation of the Canary plantain.
Australian Associated Press