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El Hierro volcano (Canary Islands, Spain): probable new submarine vent observed

Monday Nov 21, 2011 19:50 PM |

The helicopter of Guardia Civil above the new submarine vent ca. 1 km offshore
The helicopter of Guardia Civil above the new submarine vent ca. 1 km offshore
Both areas of water discoloration are shown in this picture
Both areas of water discoloration are shown in this picture
The new active spot was clearly visible even from several km distance.
The new active spot was clearly visible even from several km distance.
Zoom onto the spot ca. 200-300 m away from the shore (note the red buoy for orientation)
Zoom onto the spot ca. 200-300 m away from the shore (note the red buoy for orientation)
Today, a new spot of upwelling water appeared at ca. 1 km distance off the south coast near La Restinga, near the location of the first submarine vent. Water discoloration, foam on the surface and flattened sea water were clearly visible in this area (see attached photos). We interpret that a new submarine vent is active there.
At the same time, the broadly circular area of upwelling water and greenish discoloration which we first observed on Saturday was also active, although less apparent than the other spot described above, and investigated by the helicopter of the Guardia Civil.

El Hierro volcano (Canary Islands, Spain): activity update: slight inflation in the north and continuing tremor, but no visible activity

Monday Nov 21, 2011 09:49 AM |

Tremor has decreased slightly, but earthquakes continue. No visible activity was present near La Restinga yesterday, but signs increase that something could be going on in the northern sector at depth, where part of the tremor has now been localized. Also, slight inflation is measured for the El Golfo valley.

The IGN summarizes yesterday's activity as follows (translated to English):

"The volcanic tremor was very irregular during the whole day (20 Nov) with numerous strong pulses. Starting around 17h00, the tremor decreased slightly. The analysis of the data revealed a significant second tremor source to the north of the island (in the El Golfo region).

Seismic events
On 20 Nov, there were 24 earthquakes, 4 of which were felt and had magnitudes of 2.7, 2.8, 2.9 and 3.7.
The largest of these (magnitude 3.7 on the Richter scale) was at 03h15 (UTC), localted 2 km off the coast and at 21 km depth. It could be easely felt here in Tigaday (Frontera).
The rest of the quakes were mainly clustered in the El Golfo area, aligned in NNW-SSE direction beneath the sea at depths of 15‐27km.
Felt earthquake list:
03h15, depth 21 km, magnitude 3.7
13h02, depth 20 km, magnitude 2.8
17h26, depth 27 km, magnitude 2.7 (east of Orchilla)
19h37, depth 22 km, magnitude 2.9
This makes a total of 11745 earthquakes since 17 July.

Deformation
The deformation measurements show stable values in horizontal directions, similar as in the past days. The stations in the El Golfo area show a slight vertical increase (inflation), while the other stations are showing slight deflation.
Visible observations
No surface activity was observed, nor discoloration of water in the area where upwelling was observed in the previous days."
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Links / Sources:

El Hierro volcano (Canary Islands, Spain): increase in tremor and signs of a possible new submarine vent near La Restinga

Saturday Nov 19, 2011 19:21 PM |

Increasing volcanic tremor (19 Nov), image courtesy IGN
Increasing volcanic tremor (19 Nov), image courtesy IGN
The new area of upwelling water, located ca. 300 m offshore (19 Nov)
The new area of upwelling water, located ca. 300 m offshore (19 Nov)
Zoom onto this area with flattened circular areas of the sea surface clearly visible (19 Nov)
Zoom onto this area with flattened circular areas of the sea surface clearly visible (19 Nov)
During our observations from near the south coast at La Restinga yesterday, we could not observe any activity at the surface of the water. This corresponded well with a sharp decrease in tremor measured by the Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN).
Today, we could see areas of the ocean surface flattened by likely upwelling water rising from below, at a much closer distance to the shore than the previously active vent area, at only about 300 m distance from shore and slightly to the east as compared to the former area. Volcanic tremor has increased significantly again. We suspect that a new vent might be forming or has formed in this area. Whether this leads to another "jacuzzi" or boiling water area is only speculation at this point. The situation remains interesting.
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Links / Sources:

El Hierro volcano (Canary Islands, Spain): intense volcanic tremor and speculations about possible new vents

Thursday Nov 17, 2011 18:48 PM |

A brown spot is visible above the submarine vent.
A brown spot is visible above the submarine vent.
At times, upwelling water causes the surface of the water to cover with foam.
At times, upwelling water causes the surface of the water to cover with foam.
Dark strings of mud(?) floating in the area above the vent
Upwelling flattens the surface of the vents, but no steam or hot block were observed.
Upwelling flattens the surface of the vents, but no steam or hot block were observed.
Helicopter pictures of the upwelling muddy water above the vent published on 17 Nov by Guardia Civil – Involcan.
The volcanic tremor measured at El Hierro remains at very high levels and in sharp contrast to visible activity, feeding speculations and fear about new volcanic vents opening up somewhere on or near the island. Some fear such a new vent could be located in the El Golfo Bay, near Frontera, since most of the (deep) earthquakes in recent days are concentrated beneath the northern sector of the island. However, so far, these earthquakes are very deep (ca. 20 km) and do not point towards an immediate eruption in this area, rather are intrusions of dykes in the upper mantle beneath the island.
At La Restinga at the southern tip of the island, we could observe a slight increase in activity from the submarine vent ca. 1 km off the coast today: every 15-30 minutes, brownish plumes of water could be seen upwelling, flattening the ocean surface and somtimes producing dark stretches of floating mud(?) and foam (not steam!) in a circular area around the vents.
The Instituto Volcanológico de Canarias (INVOLCAN) has been recording highly elevated levels of Helium and CO2 gas dissolved in the water around La Restinga, another sign that the submarine eruption is still in progress.
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Links / Sources:
Previous news
Children at Rabaul, PNG (photo: Ulla Lohmann)
Monday, Nov 14, 2011
Since 16 years, the active Tavurvur volcano has been threatening the citizens of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea. Our team member Ulla Lohmann, whose work has been published in GEO, National Geographic, New York Times, BBC, and others, is presenting a powerful series of images that show that there is also hope within the destruction. Her photographs portrait the colorful, and difficult life at the slopes of the erupting volcano. ... [more]
Sunday, Aug 21, 2011
As you might have noticed, our ever-growing website is undergoing some important changes...: ... [more]

Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011
We have teamed up with the people from Eartquake Report. Created by Armand Vervaeck (Belgium), Earthquake Report has quickyl grown to be the best independent earthquake reporting site in the world. It provides timely information and background about ongoing seismic crises, volcanic eruptions and more. ... [more]
Saturday, Mar 26, 2011
You can now follow news about volcanoes worldwide and our own activities through our RSS news feed, making lookup times much faster, since you do not have to load the whole website. ... [more]
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]

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