A volcano that began erupting three months ago on the Spanish island of La Palma has calmed in recent days, with the thunderous blasts silenced and the slow-moving streams of lava halted.
A wisp of smoke rising from the 1,100-metre-high cone was the only reminder on Thursday of the spectacular eruptions that once unnerved residents of La Palma, part of the Canary Island archipelago.
But people on the Atlantic island remained suspicious that their nightmare was really over. "The volcano is not to be trusted," Spanish broadcaster RTVE quoted one as saying.
The volcano fell quiet on Monday evening after seemingly spewing its last belches of gas and lava.
Since then, only a few very light earthquakes at a depth of several kilometres have taken place and the amount of sulphur dioxide emitted has also decreased considerably, according to monitors.
Experts said the cessation of activity must persist for seven to 10 days before they could speak of an end to the eruptions that began in September and forced the evacuations of thousands of residents.
More than 2,900 homes and other structures were destroyed, but no lives have been lost. The damage is estimated at more than 900 million euros (1 billion dollars).
Although everything indicates the volcano is running out of breath, it could still come back to life, said Claudia Rodriguez of the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands.
"In my opinion, we have to be very careful and not raise false hopes. I think that now we have to wait 10 days to see if the values remain the same and then we will be able to confirm an end to the eruption," she told RTVE.