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Earthquake depth distribution 1 June - 23 Aug 2012 showing the strong seismic swarm at around 20 km depth end of June-early July and the smaller swarm at around 10 km depth in mid August
Earthquake depth distribution 1 June - 23 Aug 2012 showing the strong seismic swarm at around 20 km depth end of June-early July and the smaller swarm at around 10 km depth in mid August
A submarine eruption began south of El Hierro Island in early October, following an intense period of earthquakes starting in July 2011. The eruption waned and ended in March 2012, but some seismic and degassing activity continued. In May, a new series of weak to moderate earthquake swarms has started and give reason to speculate that new magmatic movements are taking place under the island.
We will continue to post updates and information on this page and or in the news section. Reload this page to look for the most recent updates!
If you have interesting information you'd like to share here, you are welcome to use our comments or send an email!
Latest Reports - Current Activity
Part 5: updates Aug-Dec 2012
Part 4: updates Apr-Aug 2012
Part 3: updates Mar-Apr 2012
Part 2: updates Dec-Feb 2012
Part 1: updates before Dec 2011 on El Hierro News page
 

El Hierro volcano activity: Sep - Dec 2012

Update Mon 15 Oct 06:58
Location of recent quakes (IGN)
Location of recent quakes (IGN)
A small swarm of small quakes (10 so far) has started this morning at about 10 km depth under the center of the island.
Update Tue 09 Oct 11:42
Seismic activity at has calmed down from 15 quakes on Sunday, 4 yesterday and only one very small one registered today so far.
Update Mon 08 Oct 19:22
Seismic activity remains elevated, but the frequency of quakes has again decreased.
New seismic swarm
Update Sun 07 Oct 11:35
Location of recent quakes (IGN)
Location of recent quakes (IGN)
It seems a new earthquake swarm has started yesterday, when the number of quakes rose from an average of about 8-10 to 23 quakes, and there have been 12 so far today.
So far, the quakes are small, and are concentrated at about 10 km depth in the western El Golfo and scattered in the SW part of the island at greater depths.
Earthquakes picking up again
Update Wed 03 Oct 19:43
Location of recent quakes (IGN)
Location of recent quakes (IGN)
As soon as one gets the impression, the volcano is calming down for good, new earthquakes occur. So is the case today with so far 10 quakes in the western El Golfo and central areas of the island.
Update Wed 03 Oct 07:46
It seems that the peak of quakes 2 days ago was a "false alarm" about the beginning of a possible new swarm. Almost no further earthquakes have been recorded since yesterday. Like all volcanoes, El Hierro is unpredictable.
New seismic swarm in the center of the island?
Update Tue 02 Oct 12:38
Location of recent quakes (IGN)
Location of recent quakes (IGN)
A new earthquake swarm could be in the making. Yesterday, the number of recorded quakes rose to about 15 and they are concentrated again in 2 areas: in the center of the island at depths of 10-15 km and in the western El Golfo area at depths of about 10 km.
No tremor signal is currently visible on IGN's recordings.
Update Sun 30 Sep 08:51
Eventos_HIERRO_2D_19.jpg
Seismic activity has been calming down over the past 2 days, although a few (about 5 per day) quakes still occur scattered in the western half of the island at depths between 10-20 km.
Further inflation, earthquake epicenters become more scattered
Update Thu 27 Sep 17:26
Time and depth of recent quakes
Time and depth of recent quakes
Map of the quakes (red: within 48 hours, yellow: past week)
Map of the quakes (red: within 48 hours, yellow: past week)
Current deformation charts of El Hierro (IGN)
Current deformation charts of El Hierro (IGN)
Perhaps some interesting developments are starting to be visible at El Hierro:
The number of earthquakes remains elevated (13 yesterday, 4 so far today), not usual compared to previous days, but their location and depths become more scattered, and several quakes including some above M2 are at about 15 km depth, i.e. inbetween the "usual" layers at 10 km (western El Golfo) or 20 km (southern part of the island) depth.
A further inflation of about 2 cm has been measured at Restinga in the past 2 days, and at El Pinar, about 3 cm inflation is visible.
The Frontera GPS station shows deflation of approx. 1 cm (probably because the epicenter are no longer only concentrated in the El Golfo Bay).
All 3 mentioned stations show almost no horizontal movement since many days.
Update Wed 26 Sep 10:32
Location of quakes during the past week
Location of quakes during the past week
The number of earthquakes remains elevated, but stable with about 10 usually small events detected per day. There are 2 areas where they occur - in a N-S zone in the western El Golfo bay at about 10 km depth and scattered in the SW part of the island near El Pinar at about 20 km depth.
Update Sun 23 Sep 19:40
Location of quakes during the past 2 days (IGN)
Location of quakes during the past 2 days (IGN)
Time and depth of recent quakes
Time and depth of recent quakes
Earthquake activity continues, but has been declining a bit. There were 11 quakes yesterday and 8 so far today.
Earthquakes continue, some shallower quakes
Update Sat 22 Sep 09:26
Time and depth of recent quakes
Time and depth of recent quakes
The number of earthquakes remains elevated with about 20 quakes a day (25 yesterday, 5 so far today). The quakes are located mostly in 2 zones, in the western El Golfo and central part of the island. While most quakes are at bout 20 km depth, several ones have occurred at shallower depth between 6-10 km.
VolcanoCafe posted an interesting theory that the seismic activity at El Hierro might be a result of stress accumulation due to dynamic pressure differences and compression on the thicker lithosphere of the island caused of the asthenosphere (the plastic upper mantle) flowing around it at different velocities: El Hierro : a tectonic compression/relaxation mechanism?.
Seismic swarm ending
Update Tue 18 Sep 14:23
Current seismic signal (IGN)
Current seismic signal (IGN)
Time and depth of recent quakes
Time and depth of recent quakes
The seismic swarm probably caused by a new magma intrusion seems to be ending. Seismic activity is almost back to the levels before the swarm started 3 days ago. There have been about 10 quakes so far today only, and there is no tremor signal visible. Compared to the intrusion in late June-early July, this has been a rather small event and we can start watching out for a next one.
Update Mon 17 Sep 18:32
Current seismic signal (IGN)
Current seismic signal (IGN)
Location of recent quakes (IGN)
Location of recent quakes (IGN)
The seismic swarm continues at reduced pace with "only" 70 quakes so far today and magnitudes rarely exceeding M2. The area of epicenters has stabilized about 2 km NW of El Pinar in the central part of the island and at 20 km depth. Slight inflation of that area has become more evident as well.
Seismic activity becomes weaker
Update Mon 17 Sep 09:21
Current seismic signal (IGN)
Current seismic signal (IGN)
Earhtquakes during the past 2 days (IGN)
Earhtquakes during the past 2 days (IGN)
The seismic activity has dropped considerably over night although earthquakes still continue, at generally lower magnitude and reduced frequency compared to yesterday (197 quakes) and the previous days. There is no sign of magma movements at the moment, and the epicenters remain focused in the same area under the old Tanganasoga volcanic system in the center of the island, at about 20 km depth.
Inflation of 2 cm measured
Update Sun 16 Sep 18:32
Current deformation at El Pinar station (IGN)
Current deformation at El Pinar station (IGN)
An inflation by about 2 cm has become visible on the latest GPS measurments at the station located in El Pinar, i.e. in the area where most of the quakes are now occurring. There is no sign of an end of the swarm. So far, there are more than 130 quakes registered today and their number (including many smaller ones) is likely to be above 200 at the end of today. Epicenter depth is remaining at about 22 km depth and there is a weak tremor signal from time to time as well.
It will be interesting to see when or if magma decides to move upwards (at last...).
Update Sun 16 Sep 14:35
Current seismic signal (IGN)
Current seismic signal (IGN)
The activity has been calming down, but it is probably to early to say that the swarm is over. IGN lists about 100 quakes (including smaller ones below M2) for today, the largest being a M3 at 08:48 about 3 km NW of El Pinar at 19 km depth.
Update Sun 16 Sep 11:48
location of recent quakes (red=past 24 hours)
location of recent quakes (red=past 24 hours)
The seismic swarm continues. Yesterday, a total of 167 quakes were registered and there are 50 so far during the first 5 hours of today. Most quakes are in the south-central part of the island at about 22 km depth and around magnitudes 2-2.6.
First earthquakes > magnitude 3
Update Sat 15 Sep 17:26
The increasing trend of quakes continues and the first quake above magnitude 3 has was recorded at 13:13 local time near El Pinar at 23 km depth. People around El Pinar might be starting to feel some of the quakes.
The M 3.2 quake near El Pinar today 13:13
The M 3.2 quake near El Pinar today 13:13
Swarm continues - 88 earthquakes so far
Update Sat 15 Sep 14:32
Location of recent quakes at El Hierro
Location of recent quakes at El Hierro
The image below shows the quakes during the past 48 hours (red) and older ones from last week in yellow. The most recent quakes are in the southern part of the cluster, near El Pinar. The latest quake (with marker on map) was again a 2.8 event. The magnitudes are gradually increasing.
Update Sat 15 Sep 13:57
Current seismic signal (IGN)
Current seismic signal (IGN)
Location of recent quakes (IGN)
Location of recent quakes (IGN)
The new seismic swarm continues with a high frequency of quakes and a weak tremor signal. So far, there have been more than 80 earthquakes today, mostly between magnitudes 2-2.8 at 20 km depth beneath the central part of the island (Tanganasoga volcanic vent area). There is a trend of a southward migration and increasing magnitudes as well. The strongest earthquake was a M2.8. The depth of the epicenters is still in the ""safe" area between 17 to 23 km, and the quakes are hardly felt at this stage. As the southwards migration of the quakes becomes more visible, the most plausible interpretation is that magma is moving in the underground this way, using fractures in the rock. Earthquakes are created when magma opens new fractures at depth. The more pressure it takes to open new paths, the larger the magnitude of the earthquake needed. At the moment, most quakes are beneath the El Pinar area. Vertical deformation values seem to be going up slightly at the Pinar and Restinga stations, but this needs to be confirmed. So far, there are no official statements from IGN, Involcan, Iter and Pevolca (who combines all of them), but if the seismic crisis increases, there will likely be one very soon.
New seismic swarm with tremor under the central part of the island
Update Sat 15 Sep 01:04
Current seismic signal (IGN)
Current seismic signal (IGN)
Current earthquakes (red) under the central part of the island
Current earthquakes (red) under the central part of the island
A new seismic swarm with so far more than 50 quakes during the past 12 hours or so is under way. The quakes (mostly around magnitude 2) are located in the central part of the island at about 20 km depth and there is a tremor signal visible as well. Deformation measurements show no change (inflation or deflation).
Update Fri 14 Sep 15:22
Time and depth of recent quakes
Time and depth of recent quakes
Location of recent quakes
Location of recent quakes
Seismic signal showing some small earthquakes (IGN)
Seismic signal showing some small earthquakes (IGN)
Spectrogram of current seismic signal showing a weak tremor signal (IGN)
Spectrogram of current seismic signal showing a weak tremor signal (IGN)
The current seismic swarm continues with 15 earthquakes so far today. The intensity has increased as well, most quakes are now between magnitudes 1-2 (while most were 0-1 during the past days). Another new observation is that a weak tremor signal is now visible, suggesting that there could be some (small) movement of magma. A third news is that the quakes are now clustered in 2 zones: one is where most recent quakes were before, at about 10 km depth beneath the western El Golfo bay, the second, new focal area is at about 20 km depth beneath the central part of the island.
Update Thu 13 Sep 10:00
Earthquake depth distribution over the past 3 days
Earthquake depth distribution over the past 3 days
The frequency of quakes has strongly increased today and it might be called a new swarm. There have been 10 quakes so far, in the western El Golfo area at 10 km depth.
Update Tue 11 Sep 16:58
Time and depth of recent quakes
Time and depth of recent quakes
The number of quakes remains elevated. There were 19 yesterday and 10 today so far. The quakes are mostly in the same area of the western El Golfo Bay at about 10 km depth.
Update Mon 10 Sep 16:03
Location of today's earthquakes
Location of today's earthquakes
Time and depth of recent quakes
Time and depth of recent quakes
After a decrease in earthquakes during the past few days, today, the number is up to 10 quakes so far again. The area remains the same, at depths of about 10 km, along a N-S trend in the western El Golfo area.
Update Sat 08 Sep 08:48
Quakes at El Hierro during the last 7 days
Quakes at El Hierro during the last 7 days
Time and depth of quakes during the past days
Time and depth of quakes during the past days
The swarm of quakes continues with an average of about 15 quakes per day: 7 Sep: 9 quakes 6 Sep: 13 quakes 5 Sep: 18 quakes
Update Wed 05 Sep 12:45
location of recent quakes (red=past 48 hours)
location of recent quakes (red=past 48 hours)
Time and depth of quakes during the past 7 days
Time and depth of quakes during the past 7 days
The earthquake swarm continues with now about 10 quakes per day, at about 10 km depth in the western El Golfo area.
New seismic swarm under the western El Golfo area
Update Mon 03 Sep 16:46
Location of recent quakes (red=past 48 hours)
Location of recent quakes (red=past 48 hours)
Time and depth of quakes during the last 7 days
Time and depth of quakes during the last 7 days
A new swarm of earthquakes has started yesterday and is located just north of the western El Golfo coast. So far there have been 19 quakes yesterday and 7 today. Most quakes are between magnitudes 1.5-2 and located in a narrow elongated area at about 10 km depth.
Earthquakes decrease in numbers
Update Wed 29 Aug 15:29
The earthquake activity has been weaker since yesterday. There were 8 small quakes yesterday and only 2 so far today.
17 earthquakes on Monday 27 Aug
Update Tue 28 Aug 06:40
Location of quakes during the past 2 days at El Hierro
Location of quakes during the past 2 days at El Hierro
Time and depth of quakes yesterday 27 Aug
Time and depth of quakes yesterday 27 Aug
The number of quakes seems to continue to increase slowly. Yesterday, there were 17 earthquakes, mostly at 10 km depth clustered in a N-S zone beneath the western El Golfo coast.
Update Sun 26 Aug 18:16
Earthquake activity remains elevated: 11 quakes yesterday, 8 so far today. Most are at about 10 km depth under the western part of the island.
Increasing number of earthquakes
Update Sat 25 Aug 12:20
Quakes at El Hierro during the last few days
Quakes at El Hierro during the last few days
The number of earthquakes is on the rise again.
Location of quakes during the past 48 hours (small red circles)
Location of quakes during the past 48 hours (small red circles)

Yesterday, there were 11, today so far there have been 7 quakes. They were all very small, mostly at 10 km depth, in the western part of the island under near the El Golfo coast and some beneath the western El Julan area.
There is no tremor signal associated, but El Hierro remains a volcano to watch closely.
Update Fri 24 Aug 15:59
Slight unrest continues. As of today, 5 more quakes have occurred at about 20 km depth, a similar number as during previous days.
Update Sun 04 Dec 22:04
Volcanic tremor continues at moderate levels, but the number of earthquakes is decreasing.
Despite strong winds, the stain above the submarine vent was well visible today.
 

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