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El Hierro volcano (Canary Islands, Spain): increased area of upwelling muddy water and discoloration of sea water, but eruption not likely to form an island

Thursday Nov 24, 2011 10:22 AM |

The active area seen from the South coast.
The active area seen from the South coast.
Wide-angle view over the Las Calmas Sea showing both the active spot 1 km off the coast and another smaller one located 3 km off the coast (right in the picture)
Wide-angle view over the Las Calmas Sea showing both the active spot 1 km off the coast and another smaller one located 3 km off the coast (right in the picture)
Aerial picture of the zone (Guardia Civil, INVOLCAN)
Upwelling muddy water with foam and drifting discolored sea water
Upwelling muddy water with foam and drifting discolored sea water
Dark muddy water reaching the surface
Dark muddy water reaching the surface
Foam flattening the surface
Foam flattening the surface
The area of upwelling water above the new submarine vent(s) ca. 1 km off the south coast near La Restinga has increased. Muddy water and sometimes foam are visible at the spot, forming larger and smaller circular areas surrounded by greenish water drifting west. The activity occurs in irregular intervals of typically 20-40 minutes.
Another possible submarine vent is visible much further out to the SW, forming a separate greenish spot.
There are no rock fragments, no pumice and no steam visible.

In an interview with Canarias7, geologist José Luis Barrera from the Colegio Oficial de Geólogos (ICOG) expresses his opinion that the new volcanic cone, now roughtly 100 m high and located at 200 m depth, seems to have stopped its growth in height, which occurred in the first 14 days of the eruption. Any new erupted lava from this vent would find its way into submarine valleys around the base of the cone rather than building up at the top. To rise the cone, it needs first to grow in diameter and the volume required to make it grow in height exceeds what is likely to be produced in this eruption, which, - despite the occasional presence of rising mud and gasses at the surface,- seems to be waning.

Tremor is continuing, but the number of earthquakes at depth beneath the El Golfo area has decreased.
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Links / Sources:

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:
Previous news
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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]
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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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