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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)
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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
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El Hierro volcano (Canary Islands) news & activity updates

El Hierro volcano (Canary Islands, Spain): strong inflation and tremor - possible precursors to a new eruption

Thursday Dec 26, 2013 17:50 PM | BY: T

GPS measured deformation at El Hierro (IGN)
GPS measured deformation at El Hierro (IGN)
Although earthquakes have largely ceased for the moment, the island experiences ongoing rapid inflation and harmonic tremor, both signs that an eruption could be imminent.
The inflation in the SE part near El Pinar and La Restinga has reached almost 10 cm in just a few days by now.
Instead of new earthquakes, harmonic tremor (steady low-frequency ground vibration) has appeared 2 days ago and since then been gradually increasing. Both observations, as well as some single long-period earthquakes in the past days, are indicators of magma moving into the system and pressurizing it.
This means that the scenario of a new eruption has become more and more likely. It is impossible to say whether and when a new eruption will occur, but it could happen quickly any time. It would probably begin with a series of stronger earthquakes to open up a conduit. Based on the inflation and earthquake patterns, the most likely area would be near the 2011 vent near La Restinga, perhaps even on land. In this case, La Restinga would be the village most at risk.
The previously detected very high Radon gas emission values also suggest the presence of new magma and poses a health risk particularly in closed low-lying rooms of buildings especially in southern El Hierro.
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Previous news

Tuesday, Dec 24, 2013
The new seismic / deformation crisis continued over night with about 20 quakes between magnitudes 2-3 today so far (during the first 6 hours). The key obsservations are: ... [more]
Map of recent earthquakes under El Hierro (IGN)
Sunday, Dec 22, 2013
A new earthquake swarm started under the island today. The earthquakes are located at about 15 km depth under the southeastern central part of the island. IGN recorded more than 40 quakes with magnitudes up to 3.2 so far. Whether the earthquakes are related to new magmatic intrusions at depth is a unknown but a possible scenario. [more]
Depth vs time of earthquakes at El Hierro volcano during 2013 (up to 6 Dec)
Friday, Dec 06, 2013
No significant changes have occurred during the past months. Since the last energetic seismic swarm and deformation event in late March / early April this year, earthquake activity has remained more or less stable, although above background (pre-2011) levels. ... [more]

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013
The number of earthquakes has increased from averages of 5-10 to about 30 during the past few days. The location of the recent quakes is in a N-S elongated layer about 10-12 km depth in the western part of the island under the El Golfo bay. So far, no quakes above magnitude 3 have occurred [more]

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