Increasing indications of a potential eruption at El Hierro?

September 28, 2011CANARY ISLANDSWe’ve been closely watching the earthquake swarm at the Canary Island’s El Hierro since the middle of the summer and it looks like there has been a dramatic increase in the number and intensity of the seismicity at the volcano. Since mid-July, the small island, which is the top of a shield volcano built by the Canary Hotspot, has registered over 8,000 earthquakes – check out the excellent video of the changing depth and location of seismicity put together by Eruptions reader Lurking (or is it GeoLurking now?) Until recently, the earthquakes have not been noticeable to the people living on El Hierro, but since Monday, multiple ~M3-4 earthquakes have occurred, with 30 earthquakes alone on Monday*. Interestingly, if you look at the distribution of the earthquakes, the earthquakes over the last few days are deeper than those 4 days ago or older. Many are centered 14-16 km below the surface of the volcano, putting them into the upper mantle, the likely source of the magma in the Canary Hotspot plume. The increasing seismicity and intensity might suggest that an eruption is in the cards, but you would really expect the earthquakes should be getting shallower as magma nears the surface and right now, it doesn’t appear to be the case. Maria Jose Blanco, director of the National Geographic Institute on the Canaries puts the chances of an eruption in the near future at ~10%, although carbon dioxide emissions are steadily rising, another clue on new magma degassing under the volcano. The volcanic seismicity has prompted the closure of a tunnel on the island and 300 people have been evacuated to temporary shelters for fear of earthquake-triggered landslides, along with offering some instructions on how to deal with the potential for earthquakes on the island. For El Hierro, the major hazard will be lava flows and potentially ash from the likely fissure vents that might open on the volcano – think about eruptions from Piton de La Fournaise or Kilauea as examples. Other than activity in 1793, it has been a while, potentially almost 2,500 years since the last (and confirmed) known eruption at El Hierro, so this would clearly be the first since Europeans settled there.Wired

contribution Luisport
This entry was posted in Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Earthquake Omens?, High-risk potential hazard zone, Potential Earthchange hotspot, Seismic tremors, Volcano Watch. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Increasing indications of a potential eruption at El Hierro?

  1. c/o David

    I guess El Hierro may be about to go.

    38 above mag 2 yesterday. 27 so far today and we are only halfway through.

    Date/Time UTC,Latitude,Longitude,Magnitude,Depth(Km),Location
    2011-09-28 10:36:23, 27.661, -18.082, 2.5, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 10:28:42, 27.672, -18.077, 2.7, 17.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 10:06:07, 27.673, -18.083, 2.6, 15.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 10:03:27, 27.669, -18.093, 2.5, 15.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 09:58:50, 27.673, -18.066, 2.8, 15.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 09:55:56, 27.675, -18.067, 2.7, 15.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 09:47:39, 27.664, -18.082, 3.3, 15.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 09:36:07, 27.663, -18.072, 2.8, 15.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 08:28:53, 27.656, -18.090, 2.5, 18.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 08:08:25, 27.609, -18.050, 2.8, 10.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 07:59:38, 27.677, -18.059, 2.8, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 07:51:24, 27.698, -18.068, 2.7, 18.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 07:42:18, 27.673, -18.068, 2.9, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 07:39:32, 27.687, -18.068, 2.8, 15.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 07:33:17, 27.690, -18.041, 2.6, 17.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 07:28:06, 27.688, -18.059, 2.6, 15.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 07:10:34, 27.693, -18.060, 3.4, 17.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 06:50:37, 27.666, -18.070, 2.6, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 05:51:53, 27.678, -18.079, 2.5, 17.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 05:31:16, 27.687, -18.050, 2.8, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 05:07:06, 27.662, -18.051, 2.7, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 05:00:59, 27.674, -18.067, 3.3, 15.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 04:39:41, 27.661, -18.078, 2.7, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 04:33:08, 27.678, -18.061, 2.5, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 04:14:58, 27.669, -18.061, 2.8, 14.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 04:07:14, 27.673, -18.061, 3.0, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-28 00:05:22, 27.652, -18.062, 2.7, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 23:06:30, 27.659, -18.074, 2.6, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 22:57:20, 27.664, -18.063, 3.0, 10.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 22:50:50, 27.655, -18.023, 2.7, 10.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 22:49:04, 27.704, -18.033, 2.7, 13.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 22:45:12, 27.691, -18.033, 2.9, 12.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 22:37:04, 27.662, -18.034, 3.0, 10.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 22:23:57, 27.646, -18.055, 2.9, 12.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 21:33:45, 27.627, -18.075, 2.6, 10.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 19:43:15, 27.650, -18.075, 2.9, 14.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 19:41:05, 27.663, -18.075, 2.8, 14.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 19:37:06, 27.672, -18.065, 3.1, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 17:54:56, 27.659, -18.065, 2.9, 17.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 17:42:59, 27.662, -18.084, 2.5, 17.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 17:10:34, 27.683, -18.067, 3.5, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 17:05:27, 27.687, -18.082, 2.8, 15.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 17:02:59, 27.672, -18.062, 3.4, 14.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 16:11:27, 27.671, -18.083, 2.8, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 16:04:22, 27.636, -18.057, 2.6, 11.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 15:44:14, 27.685, -18.077, 3.8, 17.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 14:59:19, 27.674, -18.072, 2.5, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 14:38:45, 27.587, -17.991, 3.6, 11.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 14:27:55, 27.672, -18.082, 2.6, 17.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 14:18:48, 27.632, -18.018, 2.7, 13.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 12:35:54, 27.675, -18.069, 2.5, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 12:31:38, 27.679, -18.050, 2.8, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 11:46:25, 27.661, -18.088, 2.5, 15.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 11:31:47, 27.679, -18.088, 2.5, 15.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 11:23:54, 27.673, -18.071, 2.6, 17.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 11:00:40, 27.664, -18.071, 2.6, 14.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 09:58:11, 27.680, -18.077, 2.5, 15.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 09:53:21, 27.689, -18.087, 2.5, 15.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 09:37:26, 27.694, -18.072, 2.7, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 09:32:12, 27.693, -18.063, 3.4, 14.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 08:43:27, 27.679, -18.086, 2.7, 15.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 08:16:28, 27.678, -18.074, 2.6, 12.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 08:04:05, 27.695, -18.095, 2.9, 15.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 07:58:22, 27.690, -18.074, 2.6, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-27 07:42:08, 27.682, -18.064, 2.6, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-26 02:55:32, 27.693, -18.073, 2.7, 15.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-25 00:25:00, 27.700, -18.076, 2.8, 14.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-24 23:52:18, 27.693, -18.066, 3.1, 14.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-24 21:24:52, 27.709, -18.078, 3.3, 14.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-23 16:45:31, 27.766, -18.091, 2.5, 16.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-23 13:15:26, 27.712, -18.020, 2.9, 19.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-23 07:35:03, 27.679, -18.057, 2.5, 11.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-23 05:06:54, 27.681, -18.053, 2.7, 12.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region
    2011-09-22 05:06:31, 27.660, -18.045, 2.8, 14.0, Canary Isls. Spain Region

    Like

  2. Tom says:

    What are the chances of that large deadly tidal wave from this striking the USA? Ive heard about this large piece of land mass that could slide into the Atlantic.

    Like

    • I think we’ve addressed that in a past post. A huge part of the islands already slid off into the ocean early in the island’s explosive volcanic history. There are hundreds of craters exposed and the big concern may be lava flow…of course, this volcanic sits on a magma plume and it’s the most profuse chamber flow to a volcano, so I wouldn’t even want to predict an eruptive cycle. The mega-tsunami was attached to the Canary Island of La Palma. El Hierro doesn’t warrant those same fears.

      Like

    • David says:

      (JUST)A theory surrounding a landslide on a small African island could potentially cause a mega tsunami hurdling toward eastern United States. (From Discovery Channel’s “Assignment Discovery”)

      Like

  3. luisport says:

    Gravitational spreading controls rift zones and flank instability on El Hierro, Canary Islands

    Click to access Muenn_et_al_2006.pdf

    and

    The effects of flank collapses on volcano plumbing systems

    http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/37/12/1099.full.pdf+html

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  4. luisport says:

    ‎1100131 28/09/2011 16:47:31 27.5729 -18.0062 11 3.4 mbLg S FRONTERA.IHI
    há 2 minutos.

    Like

  5. yamkin says:

    El Hierro: Seismic And Volcanic Activity Is Increasing. Continues Emergency Plan.

    The seismic activity is ongoing and has not even begun volcanic activation, it is predicted that in the coming hours the risk is increased.

    Recent earthquakes reach magnitude 3.0, and surprisingly, the USGS global system does not report on them.

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  6. RainMan says:

    In the Archipelago of the Canary Islands there sits the 3rd largest volcano in the world, Mt Teid, it’s the highest point in Spain and has remained active scince he last eruption in 1909.
    The legend of the native Guanches, (before the Spanish colonization of Tenerife in 1495) called Mt.Teid, Echeyde.
    Echyde according to their legend, means …’A powerfull figure leaving the volcano that could turn into hell’
    The Guanches also believed the volcano ‘housed the forces of evil’.
    The Archipelago location is very close to the Equator, would there be a correlation there to the current activity?

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  7. luisport says:

    Magnitude is growing up.

    2011-09-28 22:52:58.0
    6hr 05min ago 3.5 CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN REGION

    2011-09-29 00:35:17.0
    4hr 23min ago 3.6 CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN REGION

    2011-09-29 04:21:45.0
    37min ago 3.9 CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN REGION

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  8. luisport says:

    IGN seems to be holding some data, I mean not releasing it

    In the facebook page there’s a woman reporting it felt something 20 minutes ago, and some starts to ask where is the IGN data flow which halted at 3.8 EQ 4-5hours ago

    AVCAN expects 4.0-4.3 EQ in the following 24hrs

    Like

  9. luisport says:

    Ernesto Llebry Bastardo enrrique esta es una pregunta de urgencia en un diario digital an puesto una noticia que dice que estan avisando a los equipos de emergencia por la inminente eruccion de un bolcan a doce km de la costa del hierro por favor dinos si es verdad gracias amigo Traduction: Ernesto Bastardo Llebry Enrrique this is a question of urgency in an online newspaper as a news story that says the teams are warning of the imminent emergence of a volcano eruption twelve miles off the coast of El Hierro please tell us if it is true thanks friend

    Like

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