This is Part 21 of the El Hierro Volcano eruption report
Some of this info is also posted into our Facebook Volcano Page – Google+ Volcanoes – Google+ Volcanoes and earthquakes
With the collaboration of Joke Volta, an El Hierro resident
“Volcano Only” twitter : @VolcanoReport - 3 in 1 WEBCAM page – El 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)
Read also: Part 18 (from December 8 until December 11)
Read also: Part 19 (from December 12 until December 15)
Read also: Part 20 (from December 16 until December 18)
Update 25/12 – 23:42 UTC
- Joke Volta vent and stain images have been illustrated today with Christmas present boxes. Her artistic mind was not in peace unless doing something on this special festival day.
- One of the pictures shows a short lived jacuzzi
Update 25/12 – 20:54 UTC
- NO new earthquakes
- Harmonic tremor pattern all day long unchanged
- Julio del Castillo Vivero time lapse from today (07.15 – 19.15 GMT/UTC in only 3 minutes 35 seconds)
Important Update 25/12 – 09:23 UTC
- IGN reported a new M 1.6 earthquake at a depth of 21 km at 01:14. Epicenter in the El Golfo bay
CISC (Unidad de Tecnología Marina del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) has reported yesterday that the top of the main vent has collapsed 15 to 20 meter. The new depth was obtained during a bathymetry mission by the research vessel Sarmiento de Gamboa. The acoustic image was made last Thursday and Friday (when we saw the Sarmiento de Gamboa going up and down on the stain) .The white line on the image is the sea floor. The orange tones are reflecting the erupted magma. The suspended material that we can see in the stain and on the emission vents is colored brown (ER: hard to see but on top). The orange colored magma is flowing down along the slopes of the cone.
Last time, the depth of the cone was measured as 140 to 150 meter by the Ramon Margalef. Taking into account the new acoustic study, we can conclude that the depth is now in between 155 and 170 meter, still far away from a Surtseyan eruption.
Update 25/12 – 09:17 UTC
- Earthquake-Report.com and Joke Volta have decided to continue covering the El Hierro eruption story as long as the harmonic tremor signal shows an ongoing eruption
Update 25/12 – 09:00 UTC
- Reader Mariette and her husband who are currently staying in La Restinga are holding a new emblem of El Hierro showing the form of the island, the bimbache culture, the volcano, the eruption and the earthquakes. Mariette has written a few very interesting articles since she arrived at La Restinga a few days ago.
Merry Christmas from Joke Volta and the Earthquake-Report.com team
Update 24/12 – 15:13 UTC
- NO NASA Modis satellite image today as it was too cloudy when the satellite was padding by.
- NO new earthquakes
- continuous harmonic tremor slightly decreasing since 06:00
- The video below is the morning time lapse video from the Telefonica / Cabildo La Restinga village webcam as captured by Julio del Castillo Vivero. The emitting vent and corresponding stain can well be seen from the middle of the morning until the end
Joke Volta December 24 pictures
Update 24/12 – 09:14 UTC
- NO new earthquakes
- continuous harmonic tremor with a lot of action from 03:30 until 04:00
- a very small stain can be seen on the El Pinar / Ustream and La Restinga village webcams
- Joke reports that the she saw a very vast stain from her starting point at El Pinar this morning. Now she is in La Restinga and says that she sees the source of the stain at the main vent. The emitted material is carried by the current to the west (hard to see on the webcam)
- IEO (Oceonographic Institute of Spain) has reported that they are currently analyzing the bathymetry data (depth measuring of the sea floor) from their latest mission. They have a lot of work to do before a final report can be issued as many irregular measurements have to be eliminated. The emission gases, floating and suspended sediments and water conditions are resulting in false data.
Update 23/12 – 18:43 UTC
Joke has created a small video from the pictures that she made while traveling with the bus from La Restinga to El Pinar. Additionally, click here to see the pictures Joke made today.
Update 23/12 – 14:00 UTC / updated 15:43 UTC
Today’s NASA Modis satellite image (from max. a couple of hours ago) shows a very strange picture from the stain and the emission vent. The left white patch is the main vent emission point and small stain. The right white patch at the smallest point of the stain maybe a small remaining cloud patch from the bigger cloud range below it or a new vent (highly unlikely on this location). Click here to see the location of the satellite image.
Update 23/12 – 11:30 UTC
- an active fresh stain visible from La Restinga.
- periods with increased harmonic tremor
Update 23/12 – 08:07 UTC
- 2 new earthquakes since midnight UTC . Both had a magnitude of 1.6 at a depth of respectively 16 and 15 km. The first one happened at 02:16 (epicenter location) and the second at 04:09 (epicenter location)
- variable harmonic tremor
- 25 cruise ships have planned to visit El Hierro next year. The port of La Estaca will be the embarkation port. The average number of passengers will be 300 per ship.
- the company running the Christmas lottery, one of the first lotteries in the world, has decided to pay 60,000 euro as a gift to the people of El Hierro.
- the Terencio supermarket chain did send a food load of 4200 kg to help the Herreños
Update 22/12 – 22:30 UTC
- No new earthquakes since 09:11 this morning
- variable harmonic tremor with a slightly increasing trending
- Joke Volta made a small video with her Sarmiento images from this morning. Click here to watch it.
- Julio del Castillo Vivero time lapse video from today’s activity from 07.30 until 18.55 UTC in only 4 minutes 53 seconds!
- Nice to see how the Sarmiento da Gamboa is going up and down the stain.
- A pity however that we will not see the results soon as a) IEO is not sharing all data they have and b) it takes a lot of time to finalize the results of such survey missions.
- We were also intrigued about the emission spot of the stain. It is easy to see sudden emissions carried away by the currents, but the start of the stain differs regularly. Strange, as we expect the emissions to come from a few particular vents spots.
Update 22/12 – 17:58 UTC
Joke Volta’s pictures of the day (multiple pictures from the stain and from the Sarmiento da Gamboa)
Update 22/12 – 16:45 UTC
Julio del Castillo Vivero time lapse video from this morning’s activity at La Restinga, El Hierro. The small patch going first from right to the left and afterwards from the left to the right is the IEO Oceanographic vessel Sarmiento da Gamboa
Update 22/12 – 16:40 UTC
Today we received another great descriptive comment from reader Mariette, a returning Dutch tourist :
Good morning from a sunny and warm la Restinga. Sitting outside I overlook the ocean with the somewhat more active vent/stain and the Sarmiento Gamboa that is cruising the waters south of la Restinga since this morning. As the volcano is going on a X-mas holiday, or going to sleep for a couple of xx years, we enjoy our holiday like any other year.
Yesterday we explored underwater life in the harbour. It was shocking and interesting at the same time. Where we used to see an abundance of fish in all kind of colours and sizes, there was not one single fish to see. The sea bottom that used to be rocky with sandy parts, with lots of creeping life and anemones was now covered with a green carpet of algae and seaweed, with a lot of small snails. It is interesting to see how the foodchain is building itself up again. For marine biologists this must be a great opportunity to study. Günter had dived in the harbour of La Restinga yesterday and could mention that the smaller fish, crabs and other bottomlife had come back just at the entrance of the harbour and outside the harbour. He made again beautiful pictures and short movies that I recommend you take a look at. (see his website that I mentioned in my earlier comment) I never knew that snails could be so beautifull in their form and movements as they creep over the seaweed. And under the microscope he is showing me that also the very small forms of life are coming back. It is so wonderous to see the resilience and diversity of oceanlife. Worthy a BBC documentary! Günter is eager to show it to the rest of the world, but because of the loss of income from his business he cannot buy a camera that he can connect onto the microscope.
This morning I also met the austrian owner of one of the 2 local supermarkets her in la Restinga. She was complimenting us on our courage to come here, despite all the negativ news that had circulated on the internett (other sides than ER) and in the papers. She also mentioned that the people in la Restinga had never been afraid for their lives and houses. The earthquakes had hardly been felt and lasted very short. When La Restinga was evacuated she had left her canary bird outside on the porch, where it used to stand, and everyday she had gone down to feed it. In times before the electronic measurement devices we have now, canary birds were used before to measure the amount of gas in the air in the coalmines, since they die when there is not enough oxygen or to much toxic gasses long before we humans get problems. Her bird is still alive and singing, so gasses in la Restinga were never dangerously high. Of course she understood that it was necessary to evacuate, since there was uncertainty on whether the vents were stable in its localisation. Imagining the many tens of kilometers deep the lava is coming from, it is only a very short distance from the shore.
The visit to the volcano information senter at la Restinga, run by IGN/PEVOLCA, was very clarifying. Especially the 3 dimensional map of the Canary Islands, as shown on the picture below. El Hierro is just the top of a 4,5 km hight mountain, with mostly steep hill sides under the water, but at the side of la Restinga there is a long ridge of underwater land going southwards for many kilometers. (unfortunately I don’t manage to send pictures in this comment)
The sea bottom here is formed by the same volcanic cones that can be seen everywhere else on the Island, but especially around la Restinga (see Joke’s pictures) and the current active volcano is adding just a tiny little bit of land to it.
Update 22/12 – 10:53 UTC
- Each time that we say that the eruption is almost coming to an end, the volcano answers with a new round of activity. Also this morning. Additionally, we think that the main vent is active again as the location of the beginning of the stain is approx. the same location that we know from before
- Joke has taken a number of pictures from the Sarmiento da Gamboa who is currently doing bathymetry activities in the Las Calmas sea
- Joke reports that the Salvamar Adhara which was navigating in the stain yesterday found only gas emissions and very fine ashes
- Everybody in Spain (also at El Hierro (except Joke)) plays today with the National Lottery – it is a true hype and everybody wants to become a multiple Euro million winner today !
- A 2.8 ! earthquake occurred at 09:11 at a depth of 26 km 600 meter south from the Tacaron coast. This is the first earthquake today. Click here for the epicenter.
Update 22/12 – 08:57 UTC
- NO earthquakes since midnight
- Harmonic tremor is decreasing rapidly (after going up and down a little bit) and we would not be surprised the the eruption will come to a complete stop one of the coming hours or days.
- The GPS deformation statistics for the south of the island (Las Calmas area) are giving deflating values following IGN, which is in line with what happens with the harmonic tremor.
- The stain is visible but we have no longer an active vent
Update 21/12 – 23:41 UTC
- A third earthquake occurred just 26 minutes ago. It had a magnitude of 2.2 and the hypocenter or focal depth was at 22 km. Epicenter was at approx. 3 km from Los Llanillos in the El Golfo Bay (these are preliminary data)
Update 21/12 – 23:08 UTC
- NO additional earthquakes and only during the last hour a little more harmonic tremor.
- We have added the number of pictures in our Picasa website. Joke is still very active and takes multiple pictures from the stain on a daily basis. Click here to watch them.
- Joke went today to the CAP science center in La Restinga and asked the technician whether and how the gases were measured. The man said that IGN was responsible for the instruments on El Hierro. These instruments are installed below the surface to avoid interference from externatal conditions like wind. Some are deep under the ground. Involcan is measuring gases with their container unit. The gases are constantly measured. Those from Involcan are published in real time on the website from the Canary Islands government. The IGN data are internal.
- Joke also asked for the results of the Salvamar Adhara. The CAP person said that they knew that the boat went to the vent / stain but that they did not know why and what the result was …
- Most of the local press has no new articles on the eruption
- the latest report from the Cabildo dates from December 18 (used to be daily -1)
Update 21/12 – 13:52 UTC
As promised before, our attention this afternoon was also going to the NASA Modis satellite picture. We have mounted 3 pictures under each other, each one showing the stain in another way.
Picture 1 is the visual picture as extracted from the Modis satellite picture of today (lucky that El Hierro was cloud free today)
Picture 2 is the same picture color enhanced but also with the current vent patch (which we made white)
Picture 3 is the same picture color reduced
If you click on the picture a full size version of the extract can be seen.
The NASA modis picture is courtesy NASA Earth Data
Update 21/12 – 11:13 UTC
- 4 out of the last 6 earthquakes we have noticed the last couple of days are occurring at “unusual” depths. Also the 2 earthquakes from earlier today happened at 17.9 km (below land) and 13.1 km (Las Calmas sea) (for details see below). Just like AVCAN, we also think that these 2 earthquakes occurred in the vicinity of the feeder lava tubes who are connecting the El Golfo area with the Las Calmas sea vent. We are very curious to look at todays satellite picture (will take a few more hours) to find out if other vents have opened, as we cannot see any activity on the webcams.
- The GPS deformation graph which we can see on the IGN website shows NO significant increase but NO significant decrease neither.
Update 21/12 – 10:00 UTC
Click here to watch the pictures Joke Volta has made this morning
Update 21/12 – 08:00 UTC
- If we do not count the 2 shallow earthquakes who happened in the El Golfo area on December 17, this is the first time that 2 new earthquakes were triggered since December 9.
- The first earthquake was a M 2.0 quake at a depth of 17.9 km, occurred at 02:46 UTC and had an epicenter below the sea 1 km from Puerto Naos
- The second earthquake occurred at 03:58 at a depth of 13.1 km and had a magnitude of 1.1. Epicenter below land at approx. 1 km from Tacaron.
- harmonic tremor pattern almost identical than the previous days
- the Telefonica eruption webcam has not shown any activity this morning but the fresh stain can well be seen on the U stream webcam.
Update 20/12 – 23:55 UTC
- Harmonic tremor is growing again since the last couple of hours
- At 18:26 UTC a weak M 0.9 earthquake happened at a depth of 11 km below the El Golfo beach area
Update 20/12 – 23:43 UTC
- Joke has a talk with Maria José Blanco from IGN during the morning hours. Here is synopsis of the answers Joke got on her many questions :
- the current emissions are mainly gas emissions
- the vents from the current eruptions are side vents on the same volcano cone
- gas is part of the erupting magma and while magma is flowing down along the volcano slope, the gas finds his way to the surface
- sometimes the emission of gas is mixed with ashes, but we haven’t seen or analyzed the ash in the current new vents. We hope to get some samples today as the Salvamar Adhara is out to collect material. At the time of writing this update, no additional details are known.
- escaping gas can also trigger the tremors
- the main emitted gas component is CO². We are anxious to see what will happen with the Involcan CO² statistics as we see a lot of gas coming out of the vents. Since the end of November the measured CO² values are almost constantly decreasing.
- i can also tell you that a new bathymetry mission of the Sarmiento da Gamboa is on its way and will start on Thursday. The Sarmiento will probably only work at night. Joke jokes that we will certainly tell this to our readers as we want to avoid another hoax lava eruption : ) . (ER : we also remind our readers that the harmonic tremor graph will probably show drumbeats caused by the instruments of the Sarmiento).
Update 20/12 – 22:00 UTC
We were very fortunate today with the report from Mariette and John from the Netherlands. They also asked (off line) to meet Joke, what happened in the meantime. Joke wrote a few lines after this meet and greet :
This afternoon I met Mariette, a daily reader of Earthquake-report.com. I met her in her apartment with green stain-alike colored curtains . She arrived yesterday. We had a nice chat about the latest volcano-news. So another time I will ask to make a picture of her… We talked about the wind direction (blowing mostly from the same direction during the winter months and helping sailing boats make the crossover to the Americas). It would not surprise me, that I would meet this friendly people again, it’s a small isle… They are enjoying their holidays on El Hierro once again, but this year surely in a different way.
Update 20/12 – 17:16 UTC
- Today’s NASA Modis satellite picture shows a beautiful swirling stain south of La Restinga. We have zoomed into the current active vent which can be seen in the right top carner of the image. The upper light soft patch at the left side of the zoom is probably the active vent.
Update 20/12 – 14:13 UTC
- Since the update this morning that we were talking about the subsiding harmonic tremor we were surprised to see a continuing active stain forming at the new vent locations(s). After checking harmonic tremor again, we saw a new gradual increase until now. NO further earthquakes.
Update 20/12 – 12:13 UTC
Mariette and John have arrived at La Restinga and promised us a few weeks ago to send us a report of their findings / experiences while they were enjoying their Christmas / New Years vacations. Here is their very interesting description of the present situation at the island.
Hello Armand and all active ER readers. Yesterday afternoon we arrived at el Hierro. It is a beautiful day today, sun, 23 degrees Celsius, with a comfortable breeze. I am sitting outside while I am writing this overlooking the sea, where there was activity visible this morning. From the shore the activity is seen as a lighter aquamarine colored stain at a well circumscribed area. No floating hot stones or boiling water. The area visible this morning was behind the long stone mole, visible on the left down side of the webcam. Yesterday, driving down the road to la Restinga at about 17 o’clock, we could see an active vent much closer to the shore in the direction of Tacoron. Right now my friends are driving down to Tacoron, hoping that the road block is taken away. Tacoron is a very interesting place to swim and dive, and where we used to eat delicious food at the very cosey outdoor restaurant. I wonder how they are surviving this drawback. Today I just stayed in la Restinga, shopping and talking to some local people.
It is quite clear that daily living here evolves around the volcano. The people tell that the volcano is not bothering them at all, but it is the media creating fear and keeping the tourists away. La Restinga is a fishing and diving village. But now the fisherman have there boats on the shore or in the harbour of la Estaca, northeast of the Island. There is no fish coming in at the fishing marked down at the harbour, where we used to buy dayfresh fish, and where the restaurants of the Islands came to buy there supply. Tonight we will investigate how restaurant live here is coping. This morning we also missed another activity that was so common in the little harbour: the tourist divers leaving in their small boats, for exploring the interesting Mar de las Calmas, the marine reserve since 1996. Just at this marine reserve the volcano is active and has spread his ashes on the sea bottom.
I had a very interesting conversation with Günter, the diving teacher living next door to our apartment. He had to move his income generating activities to the north side of the Island. It is important to mention here that there are beautiful diving areas on the north, north east and east part of El Hierro, where marine live is undisturbed by the volcano. Günter sin website is witnessing this and well worth a visit: http://www.elhierro1.com.de He keeps his website and blog well up to date with pictures he makes when diving. Since his homebase is la Restinga, and diving about 500 times a year, no volcano can keep him from diving in the Mar de las Calmas. So he is exploring the parts where he is allowed to dive (the small strip that is given free by the authorities) and he has asked for permission to dive in more interesting areas. He is telling that most of the fishes are gone. Where the ashes of the volcano is spread over the sea floor, the bottom live is nearly dead. But he sees a lot of snails coming up. Snails that he didn’t see before because they were eaten by the fishes. He doesn’t see any crabs or sea cucumbers, but he gets the impression that the anemones are surviving. He also takes samples of the seawater and investigates them under the microscope: none to very little algae are visible in the samples. Let me make it clear here that he is not a biologist, but a very interested amateur.
Surprisingly there are no marine biologists in El Hierro, according to Günter. That surprises me as well. Of course, a submarine volcano eruption is more common then we might expect, but it is seldom so close to the shore and harbour of a village! And I can imagine that it is very interesting to investigate how marine live i adjusting to volcanic activity! What beautiful documentary BBC could make here, or on a scale with somewhat lesser public impact, but maybe personally just as important: what interesting material can a marine biologist find here to write a paper.
So plan your X-mas holidays out of the ordinary, come to la Restinga at El Hierro, where the accommodation is cheap, diving facilities well at hand and locals happy to please your demands. Or travel to the other parts of El Hierro, either to dive in unspoiled waters or to walk over the green trails in the center of the island.
The Internet connection is not so stable here, and I have to enjoy my holiday without my computer worries as well, but I will keep in touch.
Kind regards, Mariette and John.
Update 20/12 – 12:18 UTC
Joke Volta’s morning pictures (total of 20 pictures)
Update 20/12 – 10:18 UTC
- Harmonic tremor is further decreasing the last couple of hours. We would not be surprised that this eruption will come to a complete stop very soon (at least for now).
Update 20/12 – 09:08 UTC
- NO earthquakes
- Same harmonic tremor than yesterday
- Salvamar Adhara boat is currently navigating in one of the stains. We expect pictures of it later today.
- What happens is that a vent generates an sudden release of gas / pumice, then stops and the stain if carried away by the currents
Update 19/12 – 23:30 UTC
- NO more earthquakes this afternoon and evening
- CAP science center in La Restinga has confirmed that the the main vent is probably no longer active but that some minor side vents are now erupting. As we could see on the webcam during the day, the location of these vents is a little more to the north-east. IGN will certainly report on this new activity the following day(s).
- AVCAN (Actualidad Volcanica de Canarias) will decrease his number of daily El Hierro reports to one per day as a result of the subsided activity. They will increase their reporting when the vents would reactivate.
Update 19/12 – 16:57 UTC
- Harmonic tremor is gradually getting stronger in the afternoon.
- What we see at the moment in the Las Calmas is expected to be gas emissions although a close up view from the helicopter is often throwing another light on what we see from the coastal webcams
Update 19/12 – 16:18 UTC
Click on the image below to watch the morning series of images of Joke Volta. Joke went after her climb to the CAP science center in La Restinga and asked if they could confirm the new multiple vents she had noticed. The person in charge of the center at that time said : NO there is only 1 vent sending gas emissions to the surface. It is the same vent than last week, but the strong current is making it come to the surface to the east of the former vent. (ER : we carefully watched a number of time lapse videos and can confirm that only 1 vent is active. The stain brought up by the vent is being carried to the east (left) which gives the impression that there are multiple vents (stain broken here and there). We however think that we can talk about a new vent as it comes concentrated to the surface and this at a reasonable distance from the first vent.)
- We have noticed that the U-stream El Pinar webcam has been moved to the new stain /vent location
- The vent is still active while writing this update
Update 19/12 – 16:00 UTC
Julio del Castillo Vivero Time Lapse comprehending the period between 08.31 – 11.34 GMT
Update 19/12 – 11:58 UTC
Readers following the events (vents) very carefully or unable to look at the webcam images while working can also have a look on the Cabildo / Telefonica time lapse series. Every period of 15 minutes can be viewed in time lapse format since the start of the webcam operations. A great effort from these webcam operators. We truly thank them for this.
The present time lapsas are showing very well where the vent is located, the action of the vent (limited time) and the drifting of the vent stain with the current. Enjoy !
http://www.elhierrowebcam.com/timelapses/movistar2/day/2011/12/19 (Eruption webcam)
We thank Julio del Castillo Vivero for the tip !
Update 19/12 – 11:14 UTC
- At least 2 distinctive vents can be seen this morning on the webcams
Update 19/12 – 09:10 UTC
- The Cabildo / Telefonica webcam shows some weak Jacuzzi action in the vent waters
Update 19/12 – 08:28 UTC
- Harmonic tremor increased slightly during the night
- 1 earthquake (M 2.0) at 19 km depth at 04:09 UTC. Epicenter in the El Golfo bay
- Joke, our great local reporter, has been up since several hours and climbed a little on Montaña del Prim during the early morning hours. She just reported that she saw a fascinating show of creating different emission points. She describes it as slowly created patches who are wiped out gradually. Then suddenly a new one starts to form. She saw 4 being formed during a couple of hours. It reminds us at the patches we saw in the beginning of the eruption. She took a lot of pictures but as she is only 50 to 100 meters above sea level and as the vents are a couple of km from La Restinga, the vents cannot be seen as you have seen them from the helicopter. The image at right is from the Cabildo / Telefonica eruption webcam. It shows the new strong stain very well.
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.