Red Alert issued in El Hierro town as underwater volcano erupts

October 11, 2011CANARY ISLANDS El Hierro. Google MapsSpain’s Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN) confirmed on Tuesday that an underwater eruption has occurred five kilomtres off the southern coastline of El Hierro, the smallest of the Canary Island. The eruption is Spain’s first since the eruption in 1971 of the Teneguía volcano on the island of La Palma (Canary Islands). The IGN says all three of its seismic stations on El Hierro in the Canary Islands have registered a volcanic tremor of low frequency in the south of the island at La Restinga, the southern-most village in the Canaries.  Residents of the town were summoned to a local football field on Tuesday afternoon to be briefed on provisional evacuation procedures in the event of another eruption closer to the shore.  The estimated 537 residents are expected to be evacuated. A Red Alert has been issued for the town. Scientists from IGN and CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas), meanwhile, have conducted a reconnaissance flight over the sea to the area south of the island, where they have located dead fish floating on the surface five kilometers from the coast. The dead fish were identified in an area where lower seismic magnitude occurred on October 9, at a depth of approximately 2 km. The present volcanic activity is understood to be occurring at a depth of 600 meters (just under one kilometer) below sea level, in the Las Calmas Sea. Scientists from IGN, CSIC and the University of Cadiz have established their monitoring base at La Restinga. Efforts are underway to determine if the subsea volcanic vent is widening and if so, in which direction (away or toward El Hierro). Initial reports of the eruption were received from crews on board four separate ships. Local media agency Canarias7 reported on Monday that Government authorities have suspended ferry activities to and from the 285 square-kilometer island. English language newspaper reported: “The maritime chief for the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife Antonio Padrón has issued a recommendation that boats should not sail closer than four miles off El Hierro. Divers have also been told to suspend all activities.” –IWO
contribution Raven
This entry was posted in Earth Changes, Earth Watch, High-risk potential hazard zone, Potential Earthchange hotspot, Seismic tremors, Strange high tides & freak waves, Volcanic Eruption, Volcano Watch. Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Red Alert issued in El Hierro town as underwater volcano erupts

  1. luisport says:

    Canaries News
    @canariesnews Canaries News
    Epicenter of activity shifs toward the center of El Hierro. IGN expects higher intensity quakes, between 4 & 5 degrees.


  2. luisport says:

    Just now: 1104627 11/10/2011 15:45:37 27.6625 -18.0223 17 2.7 mbLg SW EL PINAR.IHI [+]
    1104625 11/10/2011 15:21:21 27.7050 -18.0702 17 2.3 mbLg W EL PINAR.IHI


  3. luisport says:

    Antena3Canarias Antena 3 Canarias
    Alpidio Armas reconoce en Antena 3 Canarias que la erupción es inminente,antes de esta noche.Sígue la información más rigurosa en A3Canarias
    há 15 minutos


  4. Thank you for the updates.



  5. luisport says:

    RTVC just showed some of the dead fish from south of EL Hierro being brought ashore.

    Looked like a tuna type species. Definitely badly “burned. Whether by heat or chemical action I could not guess.

    Live tv news from Radio Television Canaria


  6. maggie says:

    does this mean if El Hierro blows and that part of the island slides off into the ocean the US East Coast will be hit with a mega tsunami?


    • I think we have to wait and see what’s going on with the progression of seismic events. Magma plumes in the ocean punch up through the planet’s crust and create new islands. Such a plume, created the Canary Islands and this process never stops because magma is what geologically animates the planet. We are living in a time that we will soon all the forces of the planet engaged in the new geologic dynamism that will once again, alter the face of our planet forever. Here’s a video of how magma plumes under the ocean create islands as tectonic plate move across them. Something similar may be occuring with El Hierro or it could be just an underwater volcanic fissure- it’s too early to tell at this stage:


  7. luisport says:

    here it is:
    12/10/2011 12:27:24 27.6665 -18.0238 13 2.6 mbLg SW EL PINAR.IHI


  8. luisport says:

    Translation of the article in Publico:

    “We are losing valuable data because we do not have a scientific vessel there ”
    Experts criticize that no ship has been sent to study what is happening under Mar de Calmaa
    Javier Salas Madrid 12/10/2011 13:21 Updated: 12/10/2011 13:29
    During the afternoon and Monday night nobody could say for sure whether there was an eruption under the waters of Mar de Calmas. This situation could have been solved, according to several experts consulted in the area, if some of the research vessels that Spain has at their disposal, was sent there. On Tuesday, at the closing time of this newspaper, they had just flown over the area with helicopters and samples were taken at the surface of water on board a rescue ship, methods far from the technological sophistication needed to know what happens to more than 900 meters deep. The Canary Islands government did not request help from Madrid to mobilize that ship for emergencies, that falls under the Ministry of Development, until Monday.
    However, some experts lament that the important Spanish scientific potential for investigations at sea was not mobilized immediately, since for days one counted with the possibility that the earthquake triggered an underwater eruption. “We are losing valuable information, irreplaceable data,” laments Professor of Geology at the University of Las Palmas, Francisco José Pérez Torrado, who misses a research vessel in the Canaries.
    The Spanish Institute of Oceanography has the necessary material to investigate what is happening south of El Hierro. So says its director, Eduardo Balguerías, who yesterday confirmed this newspaper that no one has called them yet. “We have no request for information or request to perform an intervention. But we can provide what they demand from us as required,” he says.

    At the Canary Islands, the ship Professor Ignacio Lozano is present, a ship that would fit “perfectly” to the needs of a mission like this. The director of the Oceanographic Centre of Canary, Maria Angeles Rodriguez confirmed that the emergency committee that holds the reins in the El Hierro crisis called the material available to this organisation”taylor made”, but yesterday no one had asked anything. Yesterday afternoon, however, sources of the committee assured this newspaper that they were preparing the “red tape” to request a scientific vessel that will help them to detail what happens.
    The best way to find out what happens in the calm would send there a remote control submarine called Liropus 2000, which was acquired last year and costed a half million euros and has cameras and sensors that transmit information in real time. But the ship is in the throes of tuning in Cantabria, alongside the ship that carries the Ramon Margalef. “The problem is that you can not move one of these vessels just in case, as they have a detailed agenda for two years in advance. In addition, one of such boats supposes a daily expenditure of about $ 10,000,” said Balguerías.
    The last ubmarine volcanic eruption of importance occurred in April this year at Axial Volcano, off the coast of Oregon. This eruption was not discovered until July, when researchers dipped a camera up there , giving them the smoking gun they needed.

    PS — the Liropus 2000 can be found here:


  9. luisport says:

    Current Volcanic Islands (AVCAN)
    The tremor signal pops are suffering, as explained yesterday, which unclogs the basis of new earthquakes. We already knew that according to their signal amplitude appears to be related with the force of the eruption. If you look closely at the sign, it seems that we have other less obvious changes since although it seems that something decreases in intensity, if we look at the spectrogram, can … see other changes …

    Frequencies of 1-3Hz are increasing
    The 1 Hz are stable.
    Frequencies <0.5Hz are newspaper intensity.

    According to bibliobrafia, the components that decrease and increase 0.5Hz to 3Hz major may be due to the entry into pre-eruptive phases. [1]. pdf

    Be that as it will have to be aware that no clogging much, because the answer will trigger an earthquake at the moment are small and as the literature says, paraece you progress to the surface (Henry). Ver mais


    • luisport says:

      Jón Frímann says:
      October 12, 2011 at 15:28
      No. The magma that was erupting has stopped because it closed the crater it was erupting trough. This regularly happens in eruptions like this and it is a dangerous events. As now the magma has to find a new path to the surface.

      Some earthquakes might now happen following this as has been mentioned here before. The earthquakes would happen just before the new fissure opens up or a new vent that is going to erupt.


      • luisport says:

        Jón Frímann says:
        October 12, 2011 at 15:13
        This is not good. The current eruption did just stop and now the magma has to find a new path up the surface.


  10. luisport says:

    Volcanologists INSTITUTE OF CANARIES
    The following graph shows an update of the temporal evolution of the diffuse emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere by the volcano island of El Hierro once the seventh scientific campaign ITER volcanological group, now in within the non-tip, has materialized since the beginning of the recent seismic crisis-strain of El Hierro. In …… it is observed as there has been a significant increase in the diffuse emission of CO2 in the iron during the last campaign slightly exceeding the range of values ​​considered normal. This increase emisióin signficativo of CO2 suggests a process of magma movement in the basement of El Hierro and subsequently reflected in the occurrence of volcanic tremor seismic signal recorded by the National Seismic Network of IGN. This chart may not be disclosed or reproduced without the authorization of non-tip.


  11. luisport says:

    Current Volcanic Islands (AVCAN)
    The eruption process confirms PEVOLCA up at two different points by the presence of two spots in the sea, with a strong sulfur smell and appearance of dead fish. Would be 500 and 700 meters deep. Interestingly it does now appear on the surface evidence unlike when the process began a couple of days.


  12. luisport says:

    The only thing that is clear of all is that the eruptions are approaching land. 1 ª eruption: 5-7 miles 2 ª eruption: 2 miles 3 ª eruption: 1.5 miles 4 th eruption: will there be? How far from the coast? I call eruptions, but so are pedetes. A greeting and large following which you are doing.


    • luisport says:

      Jón Frímann says:
      October 12, 2011 at 18:42
      There is a chance over 75% that a new vents are going to continue to open up on El Hierro. As the pressure from the magma has not dropped that much it seems.

      There is a lot of magma down there and more is coming from depth it seems.


  13. luisport says:

    Jón Frímann says:
    October 12, 2011 at 20:23
    I am reading from the tremor chart that the current eruption is dying down. But that means just that current fissure is closing up. But the current fissure seems to be made up from three to four crates (three reported for sure).

    But this just increases the risk on a new fissure opening up soon without any warning at all.

    Jack @ Finland says:
    October 12, 2011 at 20:23
    Tremor at el Hierro seems to exhibit pulsating intensity behavior now. Is it due to those 2 eqs at approx. 14:30 opening up new pathways for magma? Or is it due to pressure increasing somewhere?

    Jón Frímann says:
    October 12, 2011 at 20:28
    It is preparing to open up a new fissure. The harmonic tremor pulses are sign of that. But when and where is a good question, and there is no good answer to that question


  14. luisport says:

    IGN scientists recorded images eruption zone


  15. luisport says:

    Special Report: Update 2 on the eruption in El Hierro
    Posted on October 12, 2011 by Jón Frímann
    This is a special report on the eruption in El Hierro. This is also a good time (as any) to announce that I plan to write about volcanoes in Canary Islands in the future. As I plan on moving to the Canary Islands in about 10 years time (no reason to start late on this). But I have already induced the Canary Islands volcanoes into my personal watch system. But I have my own personal system to watch volcanoes in Iceland and now Canary Islands. However, Canary Islands are not part of my personal emergency system until I move to Canary Islands.

    Update to the name of this blog is going to happen soon, but I am not sure when. But I am going to move in a about 10 years time (going to live in Denmark until that happens). Until then, they are going to go into special report group and only major events are going to be blogged about. Please note that this might change if I move earlier to Canary Islands then I now plan.


    The eruption in El Hierro volcano continues today, as it did yesterday. But the strength of the eruption appears to have dropped today from what it was yesterday. But this does not mean that the eruption is over. It just means that the current fissure that is erupting is about to close up, mostly due to the material that it has been ejecting into the ocean floor. That means a new fissure or vents is about to open up somewhere. When and where is impossible to know. But this is the nature of volcanoes that erupt in this manner, but El Hierro is a shield volcano [second link here]. Good examples are Krafla volcano and Vestmannaeyjar Island volcano. Both of those volcanoes are in Iceland.

    Today around 14:20 UTC there was a sharp tremor drop in El Hierro. This means that the magma flow dropped in the current eruption fissure. This also means that if the pressure is not enough that fissure is going to stop erupting. Because of this has happened a new fissure or a vent should be expect at any time as I have told before. When and where that might happen is impossible to know, as that outcome depends on where the magma finds its pathways inside the volcano. There might not be any earthquakes before this happens, as the rock is unlikey to be hard enough to make them. Some small earthquakes might happen if the rock layer is hard enough. Today few deep earthquakes have been recorded. This means that new magma is getting into El Hierro volcano from the mantle (where no earthquakes happen). This also means that this eruption might take place for some time now. But it is impossible to know for how long, as there might be a lot of magma flowing up from the mantle it self and up to El Hierro volcano.

    The harmonic tremor and the drop in the harmonic tremor today. Copyright of this picture belongs to Instituto Geográfico Nacional.

    Many people have been wondering why this eruption has not been seen. The fact is that depth drops quiet fast around El Hierro Island. Around 4 km out the depth is close to 1.5 to 2 km, it is only close to the island that the depth starts to get shallower. At the moment is is hard to say what happens next in this eruption on El Hierro. But more vents should be expect to open up then have already have.


  16. luisport says:

    13/10/2011 @ 11:41 – Residents of El Hierro have been observing the formation of ‘green patches’ on the sea surface, some 1 and a half miles from land, which appear to be growing in size at a rapid pace since this morning.


  17. luisport says:

    An new picture


  18. luisport says:

    La Gomera activity has increased slightly. Yesterday when El Hierro would increase, so would La Gomera and La Palma but the others didn’t. Grand Canaria also seems to be shaking a little more to me as yellow is rising on the chart.


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