El Hierro Volcano eruption (Canary Islands) : Part 16 – November 28 until December 2

Last update: January 2, 2012 at 9:34 pm by By

This is Part 16 of the El Hierro Volcano eruption report


Some of this info is also posted into our Facebook Volcano PageGoogle+ VolcanoesGoogle+ Volcanoes and earthquakes
With the collaboration of Joke Volta, an El Hierro resident
“Volcano Only” twitter : @VolcanoReport  -  3 in 1  WEBCAM pageEl Hierro Picasa Web Album

Read also: Scientific paper reveals massive historic Tenerife volcano flank collapse
Read also: Economic impact on El Hierro and the Canary Islands if an aerial eruption would occur
Read also
: Part 1 (from July 28 until early September)
Read also: Part 2 (from September 25 until October 10 )
Read also: Part 3 (from October 11 until October 13 )
Read also: Part 4 (from October 14 until October 17 )
Read also: Part 5 (from October 18 until October 21 )
Read also: Part 6 (from October 22 until October 26 )
Read also: Part 7 (from October 27 until October 31 )
Read also: Part 8 (from November 1 until November 3
Read also: Part 9 (from November 4 until November 6
Read also: Part 10 (from November 7 until November 8)
Read also: Part 11 (from November 9 until November 11)
Read also: Part 12 (from November 12 until November 15)
Read also: Part 13 (from November 16 until November 19)
Read also: Part 14 (from November 20 until November 23)
Read also: Part 15 (from November 24 until November 27)
Read also: Part 16 (from November 28 until December 2)
Read also: Part 17 (from December 3 until December 7)

Update 02/12 - 23:59 UTC
- The volcano did nothing spectacular today. No smoking lava at the surface and not even a Felt earthquake. After a lot of excitement the last few weeks it looks like it is all over, but a volcano has a changing character. In other words nothing is sure.
- We have just loaded some beautiful (non) spectacular images from the southern landscapes. Click here to see Joke's images of the day.
- Harmonic tremor gradually got stronger from 10 AM this morning.
- 5 earthquakes today, the latest one at 06:00!
- GPS deformation at HI03 climbed again 3 mm after November 30 (see message below). If these data are correct, they are an additional sign that the eruption is not over yet.

Update 02/12 - 14:17 UTC - a research expedition to an Icelandic magma chamber
A lot of people do not know what a magma chamber looks like. It is almost never shown because it is mainly buried deep under the ground, and because the eruption channels have been closed by magma or collapsed walls. The video below shows a team visiting a magma chamber below an Icelandic volcano (dangerous as rockfall can kill them instantly). Magma chambers are not always like the one shown on this video, but are often big crevasses filled by magma when active. (thanks to the discussion platform VolcanoCafe)

Update 02/12 - 12:49 UTC
Yesterday's press release from the Gobierno de Canarias had a few interesting news facts which we want to share with you :
- Ramon Margalef and the Sarmiento de Gamboa oceanographic vessels continue their research in the waters of El Hierro on the request of PEVOLCA.
- The Sarmiento da Gamboa finished its research work on Thursday (bathymetry, gravity and mapping seismic profiles). This work began last Tuesday.
- The Ramon Margalef (IEO) is currently working on the Bimbache6 mission. The current project will be finished tomorrow. The crew and scientists on board are focusing on a multibeam bathymetric survey, sediment sampling and the acquisition of echograms of the water column. This research will provide important information on the current eruptive episode.
- A second IEO reasearch ship will join the Ramon Margalef soon, the Cornide de Saavedra, which will also do some scientific missions. The scientists aboard the Cornide de Saavedra will study the physical and chemical evolution of the volcanic stain.

Cornide de Saavedra IEO oceonographic research vessel - image courtesy freireshipyard.com

Update 02/12 - 10:47 UTC - Is this the beginning of the end of the current El Hierro eruption ?
- While inspecting the deformation in the different stations of the Canary Islands, we might have found a fundamental change in deformation. It's still too early to call it a certainty, but  based on data up to November 30, we see a slight deformation increase in almost all GPS stations outside El Hierro. The contrary happened with a decrease of the HI03 GPS station. This might (not sure yet as a longer period is needed) indicate that the magma pressure below the island is decreasing all together. Another indication is the fall back in number and energy of the earthquakes.

Update 02/12 - 10:28
Joke went to La Restinga early in the morning. Below is a picture she made during the morning hours. You can see 5 more pictures from today by clicking on the image.

Update 02/12 - 10:04 UTC
- The Telefonica eruption webcam clearly shows an active stain, grey for us, but beautifully colored for the helicopter crew. It indicates that the eruption is still going on.

Data Update 02/12 - 09:34 UTC
- 5 earthquakes since midnight UTC
- Depths from 16 to 23 km
- Strongest earthquake : magnitude 2.8
- All epicenters in the El Golfo area
- Harmonic tremor very variable but mainly medium with a tendency toward decreasing. In between 07:00 and 08:00 powerful bursts (probably hydromagmatic explosions)

Update 02/12 - 09:30 UTC
- Involcan - Guardia civil video footage from yesterday December 1

Update 01/12 - 23:55 UTC
The catch of the day following Involcan and the Guardia Civil. Again a series of 20 beautiful and colorful eruption pictures. The El Hierro eruption would not be the same without the great footage we receive from this combined team. The pictures are showing for the first time the (diluted) stain at the East Coast (La Estaca) (Last set of pictures).

Click on the pictures below to see these marvellous images in full size

Data Update 01/12 - 23:50 UTC - Roundup of the day
- 3 ships at regular times on the stain today, the Salvamar, the Ramón Margalef and the Sarmiento da Gamboa.
- 7 earthquakes greater or equal to M 1.5
- Depth between 21 and 23 km
- Medium harmonic tremor with some serious bursts between 19:00 and 20:00

Update 01/12 - 14:04 UTC
Discover (together with us and thanks to VolcanoCafe Sondebueu) the Julio del Castillo Vivero timelapse videos (longer period of data compressed for easy and fast viewing). The video below has compressed the La Restinga Eruption view webcam images from 08:00 to 09:30 am in 4 minutes and 27 seconds. If someone does a better job than you, you should accept it ... Thank you Mr. Julio del Castillo Vivero.

Update 1/12 - 13:24 UTC
- Telefonica has seemingly finalized the installation of the El Golfo webcam. What would have been the image of the "Eruption Webcam" is now the Frontera - El Golfo bay. We truly hope that they have not given up on the eruption webcam and moved it to El Golfo (that might have been the reason why we had a black screen for so long). That would be the worst the Cabildo and Telefonica could have done.

Update 1/12 - 12:29 UTC
Reader RocDoc (we know who it is) wrote in the comment section the following interesting information :

- The scientific data indicates submarine effusive/explosive eruption of basanitic magmas (a type of basalt) which is forming pillows or lava tubes due to rapid cooling with seawater at 200-300 metres.
- This is a critical depth because at this depth when water is turned to steam there is a large expansion in volume. Hence the upwellings and turbulence associated with this submarine eruption as gases are expelled from 1300 degree magma as it is rapidly cooled by water.
- The upwellings/discolouration are a surface manifestation of this submarine turbulence occasionally bringing up fragments of highly vesicular (gas rich) black glassy rocks (hot floating rocks) mixed with a “soup” of marine sediments (muds etc).
- The unknown is how much magma exists in the present system and in turn how much longer this activity will continue, because the two are inextricably linked.
- Seismic data shows that earthquakes are shallower (<5km) and stronger which may point to a focused flow of magma into the crater. Sitting on a slope made up of debris flows (landslide) one has to ask will much of the effusive/explosive activity be dispersed into deeper water (downslope) or fill the crater ? If magma "flows" down slope the activity will remain as is, and if magma supply shuts down everything will cease. The activity may well be the submarine equivalent of the many basanitic volcanic cones seen around La Restinga.
- El Hierro has more "recent" volcanic scoria cones than any other Canary island.
- The sub-aerial scoria cones represent explosively fragmented magma erupted over a short period of time. So one could extrapolate that to the submarine activity – short-lived, low magma supply. However we need to consider and be prepared for the alternative which is that magma supply is maintained over a prolonged period of time and that the magma system propagates into shallower water. If that happens we will observe a Surtseyan type eruption as the system undergoes a highly explosive transition from submarine to subaerial activity.
- The Earthquake-report.com site has links to YouTube footage of Surtseyan activity at the end of the last century in the Fayal Azores (1957) and Surtsey, Iceland (1963) so the authorities are well aware of what that would mean for La Restinga and El Hierro.
- The truth is that we, as scientists, do not know the future outcome of this activity. The best we can do is what is being done by the IGN and other authorities – closely monitor and observe the activity, integrate those observations and keep people informed.

Update 1/12 - 10:57 UTC
- The Ramón Margalef can be spotted right on the active stain. The crew takes a lot of risks for the sake of science. The ship has also topography equipment on board and the current expedition will probably deliver an new sea floor model soon.
- On the La Restinga Telefonica village webcam (when it is operating !), one can see the stain almost coming into the La Restinga harbor.

Guardia Civil / Involcan helicopter and the Ramon Margalef together on the active stain - screenshot Hans-Werner Jouy

Update 1/12 - 10:57 UTC
- The Telefonica eruption webcam seems to have problems again, or they are changing the camera. It is a pity that it is down because this camera is by far the best one to witness the action.
- The Sarmiento (let's make it easy from now on), can be seen behind the stain on the Ustream webcam, although we agree that your eyes have to be good to spot it.

Data Update 1/12 - 10:29 UTC
- The CSIC research vessel Sarmiento de Gamboa is spotted in front of the Las Calmas coast. This ship gives off the strange signals in the harmonic tremor graphs. The research vessel is currently undertaking Bathymetry along El Hierro (= scanning the depth of the sea floor - see also animation below)
- Only 1 earthquake (M 1.9 at 07:41) since midnight
- Air quality at La Restinga : good
- Harmonic tremor is medium but there is a major frequency change, which is probably caused by the Sarmiento da Gamboa.
- The submarine boat shown in the webcam earlier has nothing to do with the volcanic eruption. The boat belongs to the Cabildo and nobody knows what it is used for! Perhaps tourism but nobody recalls it being operational.

Update 1/12 - 10:01 UTC
- Back among the cable connected people. Only when we lose our normal daily things do we know how much we miss them :)

Update 1/12 - 09:41 UTC
- We are still operating with a limited wireless connection on a laptop. Apologies that it takes a little longer to write our updates.

Update 1/12 - 09:28 UTC
- The location of the active vent is about the same as a few days back because the buoy can be seen in the lower left part of the webcam screen (when the zoom is correctly displayed of course)
- We think that the current active area is very big. Based on the helicopter footage and videos from the last few weeks, we know that the grey area is the area having most emitted material.
- The time lapse video below shows that the hot lava activity is happening only occasionally, but to give you an indication, the biggest fume plume must be at least 10 meters long!

Screen capture of this morning's smoking lava - thanks to Hans-Werner Jouy

Update 1/12 - 08:53 UTC
- The smoking lava stones we are seeing at the moment are a new proof that the volcano crater is still spewing lava.
- The reason for our delay this morning is maintenance to our Internet connection (yes, just now ...)

Data Update 30/11 - 23:30 UTC
- Only 2 earthquakes today.
- Harmonic tremor was very strong until 15:00 and then subsided a little until now.
- Ramón Margalef will work tomorrow in the El Golfo area.
- The Sarmiento de Gamboa will be back in Las Calmas.
- The work of one or both of the ships can still be seen on the harmonic tremor graph. This influence makes it difficult to analyze the frequency changes

Update 30/11 - 23:25 UTC
The video below shows the Sarmiento da Gamboa at the edge of the stain. The video was recorded yesterday.

Update 30/11 - 23:00 UTC
We are delighted that INVOLCAN, the Institute of Volcanology of the Canary Islands, has followed our advice which we wrote on their site in the afternoon, to also publish their videos on YouTube. Because of this, we are now able to embed the Involcan / Guardia Civil videos. Thank you, Involcan.
Gradually the El Hierro volcano eruption event is becoming a great sharing project between science and a limited number of dedicated followers.
Involcan is currently uploading earlier recorded videos to their YT channel, The one we have included below is a beautiful one that they recorded on November 23.

Update 30/11 - 15:14 UTC
Reader Daniel wrote :
I just had a look on the recent modis-subsets sat-image….
On the webcams, the greenish water is very near to La Restinga and the harbour itself. But does it come from our known vent? The surface ocean currents are coming from NE moving to SW (just googled).
Wind currents are, of course, independent. Wind comes actual from E..
Earthquake-report.com comment : The NASA Modis satellite picture shows very well the power of the sea currents. The big blue stains we see to the right of La Restinga have been created the last couple of days (we think). This image also shows the reason why today's stain can be viewed on the webcam to the left of La Restinga. The newer stain is visible a little to the south of La Restinga. Thank you, Daniel.

User Jacinto commented on the discussion as follows :
It is not often in the comments that have been taken into account the effect of the tides and currents on jacuzzi and the green stain. Although marine currents in El Hierro may seem chaotic, are not difficult to understand. Just check the appropriate software (eg, wxtide32.com, or in the newspapers) and consider a couple of details:
1. When the tide up runs from south to north and when it falls, runs from north to south.
2 º. The Canary Current (of the same family of currents that the Gulf Stream) runs arround Canary Islands approx. from the NE to the SW and is usually stronger than the tidal currents.
The two currents are in the same direction at low tide but the result can be very complex because it is the combination of the two streams and sometimes one is stronger than another.
Also there is the effect of wind and disturbance that does the same island as an obstacle to the currents. Very far from the island can produce eddies, some have been very clear in the satellite photos of green stain.
The tradewinds are the prevailing winds in all the Canary Islands runs from the NE to the SW (as Canary Current) and are strong and constant in summer, but also can blow strong all year.
The tidal range is usually 2 or 3 m, so when the tide is low, the vent is up to 3 m closer to the surface! The stain at east of La Restinga is the result of a very strong rising tide, rather than the mainstream, possibly due to a change in wind direction. Sometimes stain has surrounded the island and has come to the NW clockwise (near Roques de Salmor), but this time it was counter-clockwise. This eruption every day is full of surprises!

NASA Modis satellite picture captured today - image courtesy NASA

Update 30/11 - 13:46 UTC
We have a number of requests from people asking whether the colorful stain close to La Restinga is also an active vent ? Although we are not 100% sure, such an activity would be a) in an extremely shallow area and b) would almost certainly lead to an instant evacuation of La Restinga. So, we are convinced that it is part of the stain carried by the sea currents close to the La Restinga coast.

Update 30/11 - 12:07 UTC
Once again the beauty of a volcano as photographed yesterday, November 29, 2011 by the scientists from Involcan and the Guardia Civil helicopteres. Astonishing pictures. What we can see on the webcam is nothing more than a faintly colored area. In reality this is a masterpiece of nature (am i exaggerating ?). All pictures courtesy and copyright from the suppliers.

Click on the images to go to the album

Update 30/11 - 09:51
Reader Max Scholze reports via our Facebook comments the following interesting information
Working in seismic processing industry I can add that no explosives are used. To record marine seismic surveys airguns are used as source signal. If they acquire a 3D survey they shoot several 2D lines and then compute a 3D subsurface image in their processing center later on. But it is important to understand that seismic processing needs at least a couple of weeks, therefor don't expect results too soon. BTW 15 km are very optimistic and the data should be challenging to process, as the first rock layer is already very fast (Basalt has an acoustic velocity of about 6km/s) which creates a huge contrast to the water. As a result there is a wave traveling between sea surface (air-water contact is nearly a perfect reflector) and sea floor, which creates a footprint on all recorded data and hence has to be removed, this is challenging and will take some time.

Update 30/11 - 09:19
- Ramon Margalef is currently on the stain (the proof below ! :) )

Update 30/11 - 09:06
The text below was written earlier today by Mr. José Luis Barrera Morate, a Spanish geologist (Vice-President of the College of Spanish Geologists) who specialized in volcanology and also made 54 geologic maps of the Canary Islands. (Thanks to Denise for the Spanish / English translation) (text courtesy Mr. Morate)

"It was quite surprising that the Canary Islands authorities have adopted measures to lift the restrictions on travel and movement for the population of the island of El Hierro. Traffic restrictions in the Los Roquillos tunnel have ended, but not the security issues inside and outside of the tunnel, and a mandatory evacuation for residents of La Restinga and Frontera also been lifted.
According to these measures, it would appear that nothing is happening on the island and everything is returning to normal. But the reality is somewhat different. For much less than what is happening now in the seismic-volcanic crisis, La Restinga was hurriedly evacuated, as were some houses in Fronterea for fear of landslides, and the tunnel was closed when the first stains appeared in the Las Calmas sea. What happened to change the criteria and decide that the risk has ended? Well I certainly don’t know, because the crisis continues, and if not, let’s look at the parameters:
• The tremor has not ceased in the submarine eruption and, instead of diminishing, it is increasing slowly but it is increasing (IGN information on 27th, 28th and 29th).
• The deformation in the area of El Golfo is continuing (information from IGN).
Earthquakes, though less frequent, have reached dangerous magnitudes of 3.2 on the Richter scale (felt by the population) in the early hours of the 29th (information from IGN).
CO2 emissions continue to rise progressively throughout the island (information ITER). According to the data, the diffuse emission of CO2 from the volcanic structure has now reached the 2398 ± 115 tons a day when normal values are 345 tons per day. This indicates that the pressure of this component in the magmatic-hydrothermal system beneath the island is increasing due to magma movement from deeper to more shallow positions.
• The projection of pyroclasts at sea on Sunday, November 27, was the largest since the start of the crisis. Basanite fragments (without other white rock like the first ones, please note) have reached up to 1 m in size! Incredible if, indeed, the submarine crater is 200 meters deep. Could another eruptive vent have opened closer to the surface? Is the eruptive fissure progressing along the submarine ridge? No doubt we need new bathymetry in the area of the eruption to confirm the actual morphometry of the existing volcanic cones.
Given the values of these parameters ... why would they relax the atmosphere and the measures of prevention on the island? What has changed to lift almost all the restrictions? Well, I would have to say that it is dangerous to create an atmosphere of false security in these crisis situations. It is good that people are getting used to living with the danger in light of the information provided by the scientists and authorities, but ... to live with the risk? It is foolhardy."

Update 30/11 - 08:47
Jacuzzi noticed in the eruption webcam page
However, when almost pushing the update button, the jacuzzi was gone again.

Update 30/11 - 08:22
- The eruption webcam shows some activity (non-smoking) in the stain in regular intervals.
- Reader Hans-Werner spotted the Ramón Margalef on the webcam this morning.

Screenshot of the Ramón Margalef in the Las Calmas sea - Screenshot courtesy Hans-Werner Jouy

Data Update 30/11 - 07:50
- Nice sunny weather today, the wind is blowing from the North East at max. 8 knots, wave direction is to the South East and the waves are expected to reach a max. of 1.1 meter
- NO earthquakes since midnight.
- The research vessel "Sarmiento de Gamboa" seems to have been busy since 05:00 (vertical yellow lines on graph every 2 minutes)
- Harmonic tremor continuous medium to high
- La Restinga Air Quality : Good

Update 29/11 - 23:55
Reader Ingrid found a document from the CISC stating :
Para ello, se realizarán varios perfiles marinos de sísmica de refracción y reflexión al norte y sur de la isla canaria, que se registrarán simultáneamente en las estaciones sismológicas del Instituto Geográfico Nacional. También se realizarán reconocimientos complementarios de gravimetría y batimetría.
translated :
Because of this , several marine profiles of seismic refraction and reflection will be done to the north and the south of El Hierro, that will record simultaneously on the seismological stations of the IGN. Additional research on gravimetry and bathymetry will also be undertaken.
Conclusion : False alarm. The 2 shallow earthquakes listed in the IGN long list were probably due to seismic instruments (explosives maybe used during the research) . The periodical bursts on the graph have also an instrumental origin. In other words the
The article at CSIC where the text comes from : http://www.csic.es/web/guest/home?p_p_i ... 9e152e173a (site down while writing this update)

Update 29/11 - 22:12
- The "drumbeat" as Carl called the signal and phenomenon, fell back at 20:20 UTC.
- Harmonic tremor remains very strong with regular bursts.
- No more earthquakes listed since our last data update.

Important Update 29/11 - 20:52
The VolcanoCafe discussion group, a brainstorming group of dedicated amateur volcano followers has just put an article online which we cited below. The discussion can be followed in the VolcanoCafe website.
We have to stress that.

Drumbeats of El Hierro
A magmatectonic phenomenon called Drumbeats was originally discovered by the USGS at Mount Saint Helens Back in 2006. At 16.15 a similar phenomenon started at El Hierro in the Canary Islands, Spain. First of all, let me say once and for all, El Hierro will not erupt like Mount Saint Helens. They are two totally different types of volcanoes.

Clear and present drumbeats started at 16.15 (see image) below. At Mount Saint Helens it was caused by pressure build up pushing a magmatic plug that had formed in the vent after the explosive eruption. That pressure than pushed the plug up 5 millimeters at every other minute. Seeing a small mountain jumping up half a centimeter every 120 seconds would be, I presume, a rather impressive thing to actually watch.

In all likelihood it is a similar process that is ongoing at El Hierro as I write this. But, it is very unlikely that there will be a plug pressed out, it is more likely that this is a widening of a fissure leading up to a new eruptions spot, or a widening process of the tube leading to Bob south of La Restinga. It could also be pulsations in the magma flow. I guess that before the evening is over we will have a plot showing exactly from where the Drumbeats are originating.

Very important data Update 29/11 - 20:08
2 important shallow quakes to report (click on the link for the epicenter map)
2011/11/29 16:19:23.24 Depth 2.10 km M 1.60 SW EL PINAR.IHI
2011/11/29 16:22:29.24 Depth 3.80 km M 1.40 SW EL PINAR.IHI
Exactly a couple of these shallow quakes have started the eruption Las Calmas sea vent, which does not mean that it will happen also this time, but we have to stress that these shallow quakes are the first ones to happen in this area after the initial event. Both quakes are still at a safe distance out of the coast.
The harmonic tremor change started together with the 2 shallow earthquakes described above. This kind of change (if not instrumental) needs a fast explanation from the IGN /CSIC scientists (CSIC has explained the matter later on).

Together with the 2 shallow earthquakes above, the harmonic tremor changed a lot - image courtesy IGN

Data Update 29/11 - 18:08
Someone in the VolcanoCafe discussion panel came up with a great CSIC animation showing the way that the Bathymetry vessel is scanning the sea floor (animation courtesy CSIC).

Data Update 29/11 - 16:08
- Only 4 M+1.5 earthquakes since midnight.
- 6 earthquakes if the ones below 1.5 are included too.
- The strongest was a 3.2 magnitude earthquake which occurred at 01:59 at night.
- Harmonic tremor at medium strength

Update 29/11 - 16:08
We are guessing that you also have the same problem with the "eruption webcam". It does not return an image.

General non-El Hierro Update for Volcano lovers
Take a look at an update we have published on our Nyamulagira November volcano eruption 2011 (Rwanda) article. We have some new images taken by Jean-Yves Saliez, residing in Rwanda. We are sure you will love them.

Update 29/11 - 14:29
Martin Rey just told us that the Ramón Margalef is returning to El Hierro for the next research phase called "GEOLOGIA-GEOMORFOLOGIA BIMABACHE 1011-6"

Update 29/11 - 14:29
As people have discovered already, we have added 3 more webcam pages. We did this by request from our readers as some people did not like the heavy load of the 3 webcams, others did not like the ads (although they could be removed by clicking on the cross) and some did not like the sound (could be stopped also). The links are above. 3 in 1 pageLas Calmas UstreamLa Restinga villageEruption webcam

Update 29/11 - 14:25 UTC - Sarmiento de Gomboa : what is the ship doing near the stain ?
The Sarmiento de Gomboa oceanic research vessel belonging to the CSIC is navigating under orders of IGME (Instituto Geologico y Minero de España). Its expertise is in bathymetry (a complicated word which means study of the underwater depth of lakes or ocean floors) and geological surveying. As we could see on the webcam, the ship made a lot of zigzag movements and will be disclosing a perfect 3-D picture of the eruptive volcano vent soon. The vessel has scientists from the IEO on board and will also do some research on the geological layers beyond 15 km depth.

Update 29/11 - 13:48 UTC
Just received from Ian Carson :I must confess to being a poor reporter as I was told the name of the oceanographic ship, however, it was spoken very quickly in Spanish and I didn't want to be more trouble to scientists by having to repeat it. Now it is written,, it sounds familiar. As I drove up to El Pinar to depart, I could see a brown stain developing,- just to tease me...
Again the friendliness of the Herreinos (?) (ER : should be Herreños) is astounding, it is not just the odd one who is friendly, it is everyone you meet.
I have been fortunate in being a 'magnet' for news, even my solitary last vigil on the coast this morning brought the girl with last nights earthquake tales to tell (now 3.2) - incredible... The Salvamar (stone collector) ship is currently in the port. I am going to view the webcam now - its not the same as the live view, however, I have seen some action for that I am grateful.
Ian is still at the port until 1500, he had to return his car to the airport at 1100, that's why he left Pinar early... He wrote me at the end : "I am just pleased to be a little part of it and so happy to have discovered this paradise. I would have been so happy even without the volcano." On behalf of our readers and earthquake-report.com, thank you Ian for your involvement and your great images.

Update 29/11 - 12:18 UTC
It is not official, but due to the many ups and downs along the stain, we are almost sure that the Sarmiento de Gamboa is mapping the sea floor very carefully.
- Today's webcam image is rather complicated with a number of stains. We will need an image from a helicopter to find out whether these are Jacuzzis or patches of earlier emitted material.

Update 29/11 - 11:38 UTC
Wow ... this was an amazing experience - our readers were the best reporters on the globe. Within minutes after they saw the ship everybody started searching for the name, and ... yes, you did it ! Thanks to you all. Sorry for the server problems we had. They are a direct result of being poor but still having to use the best available software on the wordpress platform.

Update 29/11 - 11:26 UTC
User Martin Rey has traced the ship currently navigating in the stain area.
New oceanographic boat on La Restinga, the "Sarmiento de Gamboa".. 70m, it's the BEST oceanographic boat that could be sent, I think. It's called a "grand Cientific Instalation" by CSIC, its owner.

The Sarmienta de Gamboa research vessel, currently close to the El Hierro eruption vent - image courtesy Fuertaventuranews.com

Update 29/11 - 10:59 UTC
Alerted by all your comments and mails we were able to record the passage of the ship Ian referred to as a 'topographic' ship in his comment yesterday. Let us hope that Pevolca will share the actual depth of the vent with all the internet readers. Our readers are currently trying to find out which research vessel it is. The Poseidon is one of the possibilities. The Poseidon was traced by one of our readers somewhere in the Canary Islands area.

Update 29/11 - 09:17 UTC
Message to the Eruption webcam operators : Please zoom the image !

Update 29/11 - 08:42 UTC
The eruption webcam has not zoomed yet, but we see a well defined eruption vent in the distance. The vent itself is at the left side of the lighter stain and the sea current (wave direction) is pushing the erupted material to the right. The position of the event is similar to a couple of days ago .

Screenshot Telefonica webcam image - courtesy Cabildo de El Hierro and Movistar

Update 29/11 - 08:42 UTC - Ian Carson morning report (he leaves El Hierro with the ferry later this morning)
Good Morning,
Seemed to have been a couple of harmonic bursts last couple of hours but normal with a lot of stain at daybreak. I thought I would give my views for your reader visitors to La Restinga soon.
1) The authorities seem very well prepared and spare no expense in ensuring the safety of the population whilst keeping them 'on board' and informed. I have been very impressed. I am certain that gas would have been a problem at times if we had not had consistent, strong off shore winds.
2) The mental comfort! At times of activity, even knowing everything is monitored, the effect when trying to sleep at night.

Update 29/11 - 08:37 UTC
Reader Bernhard Steck wrote this very interesting comment this morning:

Good morning everyone
Just saw this morning 7am local time El Hierro some lights going on and of at the eruption site (it was above the harbour signal light) optical illusion or a big ship out there or the eruption going on?
I found on a Swiss newspaper following report in German: (see short translation of a part below)
“Zeitweise ragte der Vulkan 200 Meter über den Meeresboden empor, es fehlten noch 100 Meter, dann wäre eine neue Insel entstanden. Spanische Wissenschafter hatten kürzlich ein ferngesteuertes U-Boot an die fragliche Stelle abtauchen lassen. Dieses brachte beeindruckende Bilder aus der Tiefe mit, sie zeigten ein steinernes Ungetüm mit einem 700 Meter breiten Sockel und einem 150 Meter breiten Krater”.
A few days ago Spanish scientists were using a remote controlled submarine to dive to the eruption site. What they saw is that the volcano is so far 200m high, still 100m below water surface, at the bottom 700m in diameter and the crater is 150m wide. it says they have returned astonishing pics.
Has anyone seen those pics and can make them available? Or is it just a duck?

Earthquake-report.com comment : We thank Bernhard to be so kind as to send us the article of this reliable newspaper (Neue Zurchzer Zeiting). The publishing date is "November 29", but we have very strong doubts on the freshness of this information. Why ?
1) You cannot hide a ROV from the view in the Las Calmas sea. There always has to be an oceanographic ship controlling the ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle). We have not seen this type of ship for at least a week.
2) The published image is not as recent as it should be and there is NO trace of the extraordinary pictures that have been recorded.
3) We think it is a general describing article on the El Hierro activity.
4) This article contradicts Ian's words of yesterday. Ian reported that a Spanish scientist told him in La Restinga that : a new scientific ocean survey ship is coming tomorrow to map the area. Why send in this ship if the work was already done a couple of days ago?
5) Once again we see that the open source images from the Cabildo and the Guardia Civil are showing up under a copyright Keystone/EPA logo !
6) We think that there is a huge difference between following this eruption event on a day to day basis like we do, and the articles in the mainstream press that are sometimes just now finding this story  ... but we can be wrong of course :)
BUT : we hope that this article is right, this would reveal a lot of what we have been requesting for so many weeks.

Data Update 29/11 - 07:30 UTC
- Strong to very strong harmonic tremor with occasional massive bursts
- 4 earthquakes since midnight UTC
- Strongest earthquake 3.0 magnitude
- Depth from 15.1 until 20.3 km
- Air quality at La Restinga : very good
- Aeather outlook : : beautiful sunny weather today, wind blowing from the east, maximum wave height : 0.8 meter, max. wind speed : 3 knots

Data Update 28/11 - 23:24 UTC
- Variable medium to strong harmonic tremor
- 20 earthquakes today
- Strongest earthquake 2.9 magnitude
- Depth from 14.7 until 22.6 km
- Air quality at La Restinga : very good

Pictures of the day from Joke and Ian
Not too much activity today. Ian spent his last day at El Hierro walking around the beautiful landscape and enjoying the great views on the colorful Las Calmas sea for the last time.
Ian Carson wrote : What do you do when the Volcano goes quiet, become a tourist again! Walked about the La Restinga area keeping an eye on the sea and climbing all the cones. I went up the Restinga Cone at the back of the town. An image shows the webcam mast and the village of La Restinga. The other webcam is also up there, solar powered with a transmitter. The beauty of El Hierro still continues to unfold. The stain was vivid and ever present today. The ‘fake Jacuzzi’, near to the coast and Port must have appeared on the webcam. I photographed this feature this morning to show it - thinking it may be confusing. Pleasant last day, easier to leave when activity is low... Click on the images to see the whole set of today's pictures.

El Hierro volcano images on November 28 2011 - Click on the image to watch the complete set.

Watch a similar submarine eruption in action
Underwater volcanic eruptions and magma flows on the sea floor have been seen for the first time ever thanks to video captured by NOAA. James Williams talks to the lead scientist on the project to learn the story behind the explosive images. The images were captured by a submarine ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle). This beautiful video was captured at the West Mata undersea volcano, Lau Basin, 140 miles South West of Samoa. The volcano is 6 miles long, 4 miles wide and rises 1 mile above the sea floor, but still deep below the sea level.

Update 28/11 - 17:54 UTC
Small Jacuzzi presently forming on the eruption webcam

Data Update 28/11 - 16:48 UTC
- Medium to strong harmonic tremor
- 18 earthquakes since midnight. The number of earthquakes has been picking up speed and strength during the first hours of the afternoon.
- The strongest earthquake was a M 2.9 @ 13:32

Update 28/11 - 14:54 UTC
The Telefonica - Movistar managers found out this morning that many webcam screenshots circulated on the internet (Avcan, ER, our Picasa site, etc). One of them saw the light and could convince the management to add the Movistar logo in the screen. So long as not everybody starts putting his logo on it, we can live with it. It might encourage Telefonica to replace the present cameras with combined HD / Infrared cameras). Update 16:12 UTC : The camera operators are probably also looking at ER as after writing the earlier text, Movistar disappeared again from the screen and the AXIS ad was added to the right, as if saying : "if you want to criticize our webcam material, address the right people :)! "

Update 28/11 - 14:12 UTC
At earthquake-report.com, we are so happily surprised that our readers continue to interact at max. with our site.
- Yesterday, we had a lot of readers sending screenshots from what happened on the webcam.
- Joke Volta, a local resident who has gradually become a continuous source of information.
- Ian Carson, who changed his California vacation plans to El Hierro after reading our reports, and has sent us info and beautiful images from what happened. Unfortunately, Ian will have to leave later today for his flight back to the UK.
- Today, 2 other people, Marietta and Dave (2 different families who do not know each other) offered to send interesting information to earthquake-report.com when they will be at La Restinga the next couple of weeks.
On behalf of all of our readers, we do thank all these present and future volunteers for their contribution.
The internet as it should be used.

An interesting story on the 1793 and 2011 eruptions of El Hierro

The text below is courtesy Mr. José Luis Barrera Morate, a Spanish geologist (Vice-President of the College of Spanish Geologists) who specialized in volcanology and also made 54 geologic maps of the Canary Islands. (Thanks to Denise for giving us the hint and for the Spanish / English translation)

José Luis Barrera Morate - Image courtesy galiciahoxe.com

The seismic and geological crisis in El Hierro has precedents in recent geological time, and it is reoccuring in the N-S corridor from El Golfo to El Julan. Moreover, this is not a new eruptive phenomenon in the volcanic history of the island.

The area of the first eruptive crisis (July 17 - October 10) coincides with an eruptive corridor across the island in a N-S direction from El Golfo to the Las Calmas sea. The areas of the initial epicenters were located on the coast of El Golfo, in front of Sabinosa, and all along the hillside of the Tanganasoga volcano, the largest volcanic structure of El Golfo and the island. This volcano is assumed to be around 6,000 years old, but its peak has erupted several times, most impressively across a four-crater fissure that opened up on its S-E slope. It was noted that the active structural direction was N-S. Everything seemed to indicate that Tanganasoga was reactivating. However, the magma wasn't able to rise above the thick layer of material and took a path south looking for an exit. The eruptive corridor has lingered under the Las Calmas sea, producing submarine eruptions that have been mapped. Finally, the intersection of this wide eruptive corridor with a submarine fault triggered the eruption on the submerged spine of La Restinga.

The last time that a seismic crisis was noted in this area was in 1793. From the end of March until July of that year, the seismic crisis was very intense. It also began in the Sabinosa area and spread throughout all of El Golfo. The residents reported that some of the earthquakes lasted a few seconds. In June, there were some very violent [earthquakes] that demolished homes in the El Golfo area and in the capital, Valverde. Several cliffs collapsed along the wall of El Golfo, destroying country homes. The earthquakes were centered on Sabinosa, as always. In regard to the seventeenth century crisis, several authors have suggested that a submarine eruption took place, while others claim that there was a basaltic eruption in the area of Lomo Negro, west of Sabinosa.

In summary, the present eruption has already had precedents in the eruptive corridor of Tanganasoga, and the seismic crisis that has virtually ended in El Golfo again confirms that this area of ​​the island has been active for many years.
(Original article in Mr. Barrera Morate's blog)

Update 28/11 - 12:02 UTC :
Joke reported this morning that 3 stones picked up in the Las Calmas sea yesterday, were transported to the mayor's house in El Pinar (La Restinga is in the El Pinar district). The lava exposition was visited by students of the local schools. The lava stone in the middle has in the meantime been relocated to the Cabildo of El Hierro (the island authority). Joke took 3 images (2 close-ups of the stones + the one below). If you want to see them all, click on the image.

Update 28/11 - 10:01 UTC :
Now and then we are picking comments and bring them to a higher level. In this case we highlight the question of Mariette who had planned a vacation in La Restinga in December and booked it long before the volcano started its activity.

Question of Mariette (via our comment section)
Thanks for your informative and interesting website and thanks to everyone contributing.
We use to celebrate x-mas in la Restinga and have booked also for this year, long before any sign of volcanic activity showed. We shall come to Restinga 18.12, so it is some weeks to go, where many things can happen. We have the impression, however that the eruption is rather stable. But since there are so many experts following this site, I would like to hear if an explosive, destructive eruption can be expected. We shall stay 3 weeks in an apartment in la Restinga, that probably doesn’t tolerate a force 4+ earthquake. What is wise to do? Thanks for any comments. Mariette

Earthquake-report.com answer :
Dear Mariette,
Thanks for your specific question. First of all the eruption of a volcano cannot be precisely predicted, not when exactly it will erupt and where it will erupt. We have to stress however that science has made huge steps forward the last decades. The gap to precisely predict an eruption is narrowing more and more. Very shallow volcanic quakes are a specific sign for a nearby eruption. This is repeatedly said by Pevolca, the organization guarding the safety of everybody on El Hierro. So far they have been right.
If you trust the authorities, we can advise you to make your trip. There are 2 kind of risks :
a) volcanic risk : the vents that are currently active are approx. 1.8 km out of the coast, which is a safe distance for a normal eruption pattern. Even if a subaerial eruption would start, this would normally begin gradually, allowing ample time to be evacuated if necessary. There is a team of IGN / CSIS scientists stationed in La Restinga and they are continuously (24/7) monitoring the air quality, earthquakes etc.
b) earthquake risk : the heart of the earthquakes area is the El Golfo (north) area. The main problem there is not the shaking of the houses (every house will be more or less safe up to magnitudes of 5.0, a value never reached so far), but the landslides. La Restinga has for sure NO landslide risk. This said, we can conclude that the earthquake safety risk is minimal.
Going to La Restinga also means supporting the local economy. They really need it.
+ what is in it for you ? Well, the unique experience of being close to an active volcano. This is the chance of a lifetime!
And as a reward for my long answer, we hope that if you are at La Restinga, you will report what you experience to the thousands of earthquake-report.com readers :))
Ian Carson is not happy at all that he has to leave later tonight (his holiday is over). Believe it or not, he is making plans to return within 1 to 2 weeks. Armand

Update 28/11 - 10:01 - Ian Carson reports
Just had long chat with scientists. Depth of vent yesterday was imprecise according to the captain. Now the real news, a new scientific ocean survey ship is coming tomorrow to map the area. It will also do work in the north (El Golfo region).

Data Update 28/11 - 08:33
- Harmonic tremor remained strong all night
- Contrary to yesterday, no smoking stones this morning. We have just watched a time lapsed period since the beginning of daylight and no surface activity has been noticed on the webcam.
- Ian Carson reports that the usual stain is visible but no stirring activity.
- 3 earthquakes since midnight, the strongest one being a M 2.0
- Depths between 17 and 21 km
- Weather outlook for today : beautiful weather today, wind blowing from the east, maximum wave height : 0.6 meter, wind speed : 1 to 2 knots only - in other words a perfect day for volcano activity spotting.

Read also : Scientific paper reveals massive historic Tenerife volcano flank collapse
Read also: Economic impact on El Hierro and the Canary Islands if an aerial eruption would occur

Volcano Discussion Panel : If you are a person who wants to discuss and read about all aspects of volcanoes, this discussion panel might be a very good place to hang around. Especially if we start speculating about what to happen next, this panel is a great place to look at. Give it a chance.

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