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El Hierro volcano
shield volcano 1500 m
Canary Islands (Spain), 27.63°N / -17.99°W
Current status: normal or dormant (1 out of 5)
El Hierro webcams / live data | Reports
El Hierro volcano books | Tours
El Hierro volcano eruptions:
2012 (?) (probable second submarine eruption in June-July west of the island), 2011-12 (Oct-Mar, submarine eruption near La Restinga), 1793
Typical eruption style:
mainly effusive, basaltic fissure eruptions
Last earthquakes nearby
El Hierro volcano tours
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El Hierro volcano (Canary Islands) news & activity updates

El Hierro volcano (Canary Islands, Spain): deep earthquake swarms in the El Golfo area

Saturday Oct 29, 2011 15:25 PM |

While the submarine eruption south of El Hierro Island continues, a large number of mostly deep (around 20km) earthquakes of up to 3.3 magnitude have been occurring in the gulf off the NW coast of this island.
Yesterday, IGN listed 63 earthquakes, 4 above or equal to 3, 27 in between 2 and 3 and 32 lower than 2. The strongest was a M3.3 quake at 14:16 UTC. Today, Saturday IGN has listed already 32 earthquake, the vast majority with epicenter in the El Golfo area. The tremor of 10:46 UTC this morning was the strongest at M 3.3.
It is likely that this is related to magma movements at depth, but at present not a sign that another eruption or a major change in the eruption style could be in the making. However, the situation clearly needs to be followed carefully.
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Links / Sources:

El Hierro volcano (Canary Islands, Spain): eruption update - new submarine crater and lava flows mapped

Saturday Oct 29, 2011 14:51 PM |

A true color, high-resolution RapidEye satellite image taken on 26 Oct featuring the gigantic stain visible on the surface of Las Calmas Sea, and even the vent area visible as the brown spot near the southern tip of the island. Image courtesy and copyright RapidEye.net
A true color, high-resolution RapidEye satellite image taken on 26 Oct featuring the gigantic stain visible on the surface of Las Calmas Sea, and even the vent area visible as the brown spot near the southern tip of the island. Image courtesy and copyright RapidEye.net
Digial elevation models presented by IEO showing the vent area before (a) the eruption and at present (b), with the new crater and even what is likely submarine lava flows. Images: Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO)
Digial elevation models presented by IEO showing the vent area before (a) the eruption and at present (b), with the new crater and even what is likely submarine lava flows. Images: Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO)
The Spanish research vessel Ramon Margalef has surveyed the vent area of the new ongoing submarine eruption south of El Hierro with the help of a diving robot, and presented a digital model for the news crater, which formed above an undersea valley at 250 m depth and forms a cone rising now more than 100 m containing a 120 m wide crater. Even submarine (pillow) lava flows are recognized on the elevation model presented. If the pictures presented by IEO really are showing the new volcano, it is the first time that the birth of a seamount has been documented this way.
In the meanwhile, the eruption continues and produces a large stain of discolored muddy water drifting around the southern and western coast of El Hierro.
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Links / Sources:

El Hierro volcano (Canary Islands, Spain): eruption update

Saturday Oct 15, 2011 15:23 PM |

The ongoing submarine eruption south of El Hierro, the first eruption in the Canaries in 40 years, continues from probably 2 vents at depths below 250 m under the water surface. It seems that the eruption is the submarine equivalent of a typical fissure eruption as often observed on basaltic shield volcanoes.
Above the vents, large plumes of discolored water are visible and can be detected even on satellite images from space. A strong odour of sulfur can be detected on land.
The port town of La Restinga has been evacuated and ships and aircraft are now banned from the area. Unless the eruption proceeds to shallower levels from about less than 50-60 m water depth, either by the accumulation of volcanic material above the vents, or by a upward propagation of the eruption fissure towards the coast, it is unlikely that the activity will become dangerous for the coastal areas. Should the eruption proceed to shallower levels, however, the risk of explosive eruptions increases drastically as the water pressure to contain explosions becomes too low.
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Links / Sources:

El Hierro volcano (Canary Islands, Spain): alert level raised to red and evacuations

Tuesday Oct 11, 2011 14:38 PM | BY: TOM PFEIFFER

The volcanological observatory of the Canaries ahs raised the volcanic alert level to the maximum "Red" for the southernmost city on the island, La Restinga, and the government of the Canaries has announced to evacuate the population of La Restinga as a measure of precaution.
In the meanwhile, there is little doubt that a submarine eruption is in progress 5 km off shore south of El Hierro. Due to the depth of the eruption at 600 m below the surface, there is not visible activity for now, but the intensity and location of volcanic tremor and the sighting of lots of dead fish above the spot are speaking a clear language.
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Links / Sources:
Previous news
Seismic recording showing the strong volcanic tremor under El Hierro volcano on 10 Oct (IGN)
Monday, Oct 10, 2011
It seems that a small submarine eruption has started 7 km south of the coast of El Hierro Island in the Canaries at a depth of 1200 m below sea level, in the Las Calmas sea. The eruption, inferred by strong tremor recorded by the Istituto Geográfico National (IGN), started at 10.43 local time (09:43 UTC). [more]
Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011
Concern is growing that the El Hierro volcano (Canary Islands) could be heading towards an eruption, after seismic activity beneath the island increased strongly over the past days. More than 150 earthquakes were recorded on Tuesday alone. At least 20 earthquakes were larger than 3 mag Richter and could be felt by locals during the past 24 hours. ... [more]

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