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El Hierro volcano (Canary Islands, Spain): earthquake in the El Golfo area, increasing steam and ash fountains and CO2 emissions

Tuesday Nov 08, 2011 23:24 PM |

Explosions above the still submarine vents south of El Hierro are getting stronger and follow one another every 10 to 15 minutes, generating large clouds and sometimes jets of gas, steam and ash mixed with blocks rising to 30-35 meters. At night, red glow is visible above the jacuzzi.
At 17:51 GMT, a 3.4 earthquake under the El Golfo area was felt on the island. It is still not clear whether a second eruptive vent is active in that area. Due to the much greater depth, it would be more difficult to spot on the surface.
In the meantime, scientist from IGN and PEVOLCA (Civil Protection for Volcanic Risk) continue to measure increasing levels of carbon dioxide, another sign that magma is rising and getting closer to the sea surface. The possible presence of drifting layers of the deadly CO2 is a now serious risk for anyone at low altitude near the site of the eruption.

El Hierro volcano (Canary Islands, Spain): eruption expected to breach the surface soon

Tuesday Nov 08, 2011 15:30 PM |

One of the explosions ejecting ash above the surface (image: Radio Televisión Canaria, http://www.rtvc.es/)
One of the explosions ejecting ash above the surface (image: Radio Televisión Canaria, http://www.rtvc.es/)
The area of the submarine vent on 7 Nov (image: INVOLCAN)
The area of the submarine vent on 7 Nov (image: INVOLCAN)
Close-up photo and thermal image showing the water temperature increase at the fountain south of La Restinga on 7 Nov (image: INVOLCAN)
The area south of La Restinga 7 Nov (image: INVOLCAN and Civil Protection)
Signs are increasing that the submarine eruption south of El Hierro could be breaking the ocean surface very soon. At the moment, there are 2 areas with violent bubbling fountains (locally called "jacuzzi") up to 20 m high where the water temperature has increased by at least 10 deg C. Occasionally, the first small explosions are seen ejecting rocks, pumice and ash.
When the next (so-called Surtseyan) phase of violent, sustained steam and ash explosions starts is yet unknown, but it seems very likely now and could even happen very soon. This type of phreatomagmatic activity is caused by the interaction of lava close to the sea surface and is the second phase of building a new island.
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Links / Sources:

El Hierro volcano (Canary Islands, Spain): eruption moves towards ocean surface

Sunday Nov 06, 2011 20:00 PM |

Close-up of one of the fountains (jacuzzi) south of La Restinga (image: INVOLCAN)
Close-up of one of the fountains (jacuzzi) south of La Restinga (image: INVOLCAN)
Discolored water around the vent of the eruption (image: INVOLCAN)
Discolored water around the vent of the eruption (image: INVOLCAN)
The submarine eruption south of El Hierro Island is getting closer to the surface and approaching the so-called Surtseyan stage (named after the 1963 eruption and birth of Surtsey Island south of Iceland).
First small steam explosions and water fountains have been observed. These geysir-like fountains reach 10-20 m height. It is likely that there will be more explosive activity, so-called phreatomagmatic explosions (caused by water mixing with lava), in the near future, and possibly the emergence of a new island. The activity is accompanied by strong tremor and single steam explosions can also be seen on the recordings.
It cannot be predicted whether and when the eruption reaches an island-building stage, but chances are clearly becoming bigger each day, that new land appears out of the sea one of these days.
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Links / Sources:

El Hierro volcano (Canary Islands, Spain): strong volcanic tremor suggesting a new eruption

Thursday Nov 03, 2011 12:13 PM |

Increasing tremor signal (3 Nov 2011) at El Hierro
Increasing tremor signal (3 Nov 2011) at El Hierro
Seismic activity beneath the El Golfo region has further increased and there is now a strong tremor signal. This suggests that a second submarine vent might in fact have started to erupt.
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Links / Sources:
Previous news
Sunday, Aug 21, 2011
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Friday, Oct 29, 2010
VolcanoDiscovery is in Denver at the Geological Society of America conference from October 31-November 3, 2010! Come see us in the Exhibit Hall at the Convention Center if you're in the area -- contact us at [email protected] or 1-808-640-4165 for a FREE ENTRY PASS! Hawai'i guide & volcanologist Philip will be on hand to answer questions about our world-wide tours and special educational rates! Find us in booth #1039 next to the GSA Foundation and Exhibitor Lounge, beyond Paleo Alley! [more]
Sunday, Aug 08, 2010
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