This is Part 9 of the El Hierro Volcano eruption report
Our tweets are also posted into our Facebook Volcano Page
With the collaboration of Joke Volta, an El Hierro resident
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)
Update 06/11 - 21:57 UTC :
PEVOLCA confirms a further increase in carbon dioxide emissions in El Hierro (see also Patrick Allard comment just below). The emission of CO2 is one of the parameters of a volcanic eruption precursors but has to be assessed jointly with others, such as deformation and seismicity depth
Update 06/11 - 21:34 UTC :
- At 18:25 UTC a powerful 3.9 magnitude quake struck the El Golfo bay followed by a 3.1 13 minutes later.
Update 06/11 - 20:06 UTC :
Understanding the current and next phase of the eruption.
Earthquake-report.com received a note from Patrick Allard, Directeur de recherche CNRS, Paris, on the current and expected El Hierro events, and is happy to share it with our readers.
According to today's last observations, I agree that the eruption is in a transition phase between purely submarine and Surtseyan-type subaerial, and that the relative calm in the afternoon could have simply resulted from partial removal (collapse?) of the upper part of the new volcanic cone.
From my experience, a clear change towards subaerial activity will be associated with a change in gas composition, that will be manifested in the gas smell: instead of 'rotten egg' (i.e. H2S emission), local people will start smelling SO2 emission (i.e. sulfur from striking matchstick).
Sulfur dioxide is charactersitic of high temperature magmatic gases, whereas H2S is more typical of lower temperature hydrothermal gases or residual magmatic gases that have previously reacted with liquid water.
The main gas precursor released during such a deep seismogenic phase of a basaltic eruption is carbon dioxide, the earliest exsolving magmatic volatile. Huge amounts of magma-derived CO2 shoud currently being released from the eruptive vents and through sea water, generating the jacuzzi and the billions of gas bubbles bursting at the sea surface. Therefore, measuring/monitoring both the chemical composition and the mass output of emitted volcanic gases should become an important priority during next days and weeks.
Update 06/11 - 17:38 UTC :
The eruptive vent in the Las Calmas Sea is intensifying again. As it is getting dark in El Hierro, we will have to fall back on graphs and numbers from now on. We are not surprised about the stronger activity in the sea as harmonic tremor graphs did indicate from the early afternoon on that activity was on the rise.
UPDATE 06/11 - 17:12 UTC:
Astershocks greater than M 2.0 since midnight - M +3 in red
Time Depth Magnitude Location
17:12:39 16 2.4 NW FRONTERA
16:30:31 19 3.4 NW FRONTERA
14:14:39 20 2.7 NW FRONTERA
14:07:56 19 2.4 NW FRONTERA
13:18:55 19 2.0 NW FRONTERA
13:08:06 19 2.7 NW FRONTERA
11:57:26 22 2.6 W FRONTERA
11:12:33 18 2.6 NW FRONTERA
10:41:17 20 2.1 NW FRONTERA
10:33:01 20 2.7 NW FRONTERA
09:50:42 17 3.4 NW FRONTERA
08:38:43 19 2.5 NW FRONTERA
07:26:20 22 2.2 NW FRONTERA
06:43:45 18 2.5 NW FRONTERA
06:20:37 16 2.1 NW FRONTERA
05:11:48 17 2.2 NW FRONTERA
03:40:04 23 2.0 NW FRONTERA
03:20:11 16 2.6 NW FRONTERA
03:00:27 21 2.6 NW FRONTERA
00:56:35 22 2.0 NW FRONTERA
00:50:44 19 2.1 NW FRONTERA
00:48:31 15 2.9 W FRONTERA
UPDATE 06/11 - 14:01 UTC:
New pictures made today from the eruption area. View the entire gallery HERE. As long as the same area continues to show swirling water, the vent underneath is active and will gradually up towards the surface
Update 06/11 - 12:21 UTC:
Joke Volta just reported that the bubbling on the event-spot almost stopped, giving a small break.
Another important information is about the evacuation which can last for days from now on.
Data Update 06/11 - 08:44 UTC :
- "The beast decided to came out of the water" as the newspaper La Provincia did describe at least 2 geyser-like blurbs poetically! The blurbs are containing ash, magmatic material and gases and are jumping 20 meter out of the water.
Data Update 06/11 - 08:20 UTC :
- continuous strong harmonic tremor since midnight. The IGN graph is almost saturated which normally means a lot of volcanic activity.
- also continuing volcanic earthquakes in the El Golfo area, but the ceiling since midnight stands at 2.9 magnitude
- 17 earthquakes equal or greater than 1.5 have been listed by IGN since midnight UTC
Update 06/11 - 05:40 UTC :
53 people living at the northern side of the island have also been evacuated out of some areas of Frontera because of the fear for landslides
Update 05/11 - 22:40 UTC :
Our La Restinga human webcam has been evacuated too. She will spend the night with Joke at El Pinar.
Update 05/11 - 21:54 UTC :
What next ?
We expect the next phase to begin soon (a couple of hours) or later (days or even weeks) (a volcano does not show his cards). The present very strong harmonic tremor accompanied by powerful bursts who occur every 30 to 40 minutes, may sustain the process for some time to come.
If the current vents remain open, and if the bursts continue, the gases mixed with ash and steam will have to overcome the water column pressure. They almost did late this afternoon, and will probably continue trying to do so the next couple of hours. In the dark, and unless it is full moon, nobody will notice it (it is not a football stadium).
Once the pressure from below is strong enough to break the water resistance, fountains of steam mixed with ash will blow into the air. At first during the bursts (compare it with geysers) followed bu more continuous fountains.
If all this happens a few km out in the sea, the island will at max. get some ash showers.
These kind of shallow depth eruptions coming above the surface are called Surtseyan eruptions (named after the Icelandic Island formed the same way) or Capelinho's eruptions (named after a similar eruption in 1957 at Faial, Azores).
At the lower part of this page one will find the explanation of the Capelinho eruption.
Please keep in mind that this is an attempt to predict what will happen, not a certainty.
Update 05/11 - 21:41 UTC :
Some people, new to our reporting, are asking themselves what we mean by Jacuzzi or Burbuja.
Both terms were given by the local people. They found that the moving surface water resembled a jacuzzi. Since the people gave that word to the phenomena, we also used it in our articles.
We could have called water interacting with magma and gases, but we like Jacuzzi better.
Many pictures are showing this kind of activity from October 15 on, although we think that the activity might have started a couple of days earlier.
On behalf of the people behind Earthquake-Report.com and our many readers we owe
a big Thank You to Joke Volta , initial reader of our pages
who gradually turned into a Volunteer reporter.
Update 05/11 - 20:46 UTC :
IGN and CSIC scientists have noticed ash particles in the steam coming out of the jacuzzi's. We have the impression that the Ramon Margaleff may have informed Pevolca, as the oceanographic ship was seen on the grey stain close to the vents.
Update 05/11 - 20:46 UTC :
Joke friend, the La Restinga Human webcam :), just arrived from the village. She said that a car with loudspeakers is driving through the village calling for the evacuation. UME (military emergency unit) is helping with the evacuation. People are calm and are overpowered with what happens.
At first people of La Restinga thought that the big black bubble was a boat. They were really surprised that it was the volcano getting more active.
Important update 05/11 - 18:10 UTC :
EVACUATION CALLED AT LA RESTINGA ('source : Diario El Hierro) due to the stronger coastal activity and toxic gases. Pevolca also fears that the the current activity may come closer to the coast.
Update 05/11 - 18:10 UTC :
We just got a call from an excited Joke Volta that a new powerful Jacuzzi (vent) can be seen from the La Restinga El Pinar road. She is currently making pictures from it. We have to be cautious with news reports as we our blind ourselves (installing a webcam with a view on the coast looks to be impossible to realize), but the least that we can say, is that a lot is going on below the La Restinga coast.
The video has been made with a cheap cellular phone, sorry for the quality, but so far this is the only image/video that we have. Why the excitement : because this vent is much bigger and powerful than before.
Update 05/11 - 16:51 UTC :
Presidencia del Gobierno de Canarias has published 2 new images taken with the helicopter who was seen by Joke this morning. They are still showing a strong emitting vent in the Las Calmas sea. If the eruption in this vent is magmatic, than the depth must have been seriously decreased since the eruption began. It is hard however to know this, as the authorities are NOT disclosing the geographic positions of the vents.
Update 05/11 - 16:35 UTC :
IGN announced that they expect a new vent to open or already opened in the El Golfo bay, but at a far bigger depth than at the La Restinga coast. The main eruptive vent is still located to the south in the Las Calmas sea. (ER : let's hope that the poor images of the NASA satellites will help us out in detecting an eventual coloring of the water).
IGN also said that last night 4.4 magnitude earthquake was perceived much stronger by the population because of the close distance to the beach. The earlier big quake was weakened by the water masses.
Update 05/11 - 16:19 UTC :
The decision of Pevolca will have more impact then before, because they also ordered the closure of a number of roads on the Al Golfo part of the island. Fear of landslides and rockfall is also here the reason.
No additional action is planned at the moment for the volcanic risks.
These are the roads who are now closed to traffic (Spanish) :
- Las Puntas (HI-55) desde el cruce los Caminos Cruzados hasta el Pozo de Los Padrones
- La vía de Lomo Negro (HI-500) entre el cruce de Faro de Orchilla y el Pozo de La Salud y se corta al tráfico entre Sabinosa y Frontera (HI-50), en la dirección Frontera a la altura del cruce HI-553 (La Tabla) y en dirección a Sabinosa a la altura de la montaña Tamásina (El Chijo)
- el acceso al Pozo de Las Calcosas y se ordena el desalojo de las viviendas
Important update 05/11 - 13:14 UTC :
Pevolca has just declared what we had expected in an earlier update and which sound very reasonable to us : Closing (until further notice) of the Los Roquillos tunnel. Reason : risk of rockfall and landslides. The tunnel was already closed during the nightly hours, re-opened during the morning and awaiting a final verdict from Pevolca. The strong 4.4 earthquake from yesterday evening (see below) was probably the main trigger for the difficult decision.
Data update 05/11 - 13:04 UTC :
Harmonic tremor remains very strong, while there were some slightly weaker periods during the night (see graph below).
- we have no data update from the Las Calmas sea at the moment. Only the picture below, which reveals a growing grey stain. The grey stain is believed to contain a lot of eruptive material.
- The webcam soap goes on, it takes 25 siestas before somebody @ El Pinar decides to do something (Joke is running the marathon to get something done).
Focal depths are still at a safe 17 to 21 km.
Update 05/11 - 12:13 UTC :
Our friends at IGN have a hard time too, as their servers are almost strangled by the many people visiting their lists and graphs. We have to thank IGN for their outstanding open source information. Specialist followers always want more, but we never had the feeling that information was kept away or hided from us.
The same goes to the government of the Canary Islands, the local administration and the UME, IGN, CSIC and other people guarding the safety of the islanders. They have an extremely hard time in communicating a very complicated information without a 100% guarantee (please bear in mind we talk about a volcano)
Update 05/11 - 12:13 UTC :
The coastal village / town of La Restinga is almost strangled by the current events. The village, mainly dependent on small fisherman and diving companies, is going through his hardest time since his existence. As all trade did came to a standstill since the early evacuation days, people have hardly something to eat! Aid has been promised, but the political and administrative hassle takes too long.
Update 05/11 - 11:28 UTC :
Pevolca will meet this morning at 12:00 UTC to discuss the present situation. We expect that Pevolca is re-considering the (partly) closure of the Los Roquillas tunnel due to the frequent and strong earthquakes. The landslides and rockfall yesterday evening at Las Puntas (greater Frontera area) and the mandatory evacuation of 11 houses are indications in that direction.
Update 05/11 - 11:15 UTC :
3 rather strong earthquake respectively 3.0, 3.5 and 3.9 have struck the El Golfo area to the North West of Frontera. The focal depths were in between 20 and 21 km (as most of the others before).
The big difference with prior periods is that we now are having AND continuing strong earthquakes AND also INCREASED STRONG harmonic tremor. The rescaled IGN graph (yesterday evening) is almost saturated again. All this means very strong volcanic action below El Hierro.
Update 05/11 - 08:44 UTC :
After last nights powerful 4.4 earthquake and even more after the shallower 3.6 earthquake with epicenter in the Puerto Naos area (south of the Island and almost below the Jacuzzis), the population of El Hierro is struggling in between the "Remain Calm" message of Pevolca and what they feel and see and smell themselves.
Los Roquillos tunnel closed until the early morning hours
The Director of the Civil Protection Plan for Volcanic Risk (PEVOLCA) has decided this evening to close the tunnel access road until 7.30 am as a preventive measure due to the 4.4 earthquake which took place at 20:36 hours. The possibility that a larger quake could occur according to the National Geographic Institute (IGN) required the notification to the public. The opening of the tunnel in the morning will be done with surveillance and security measures in place.
- The families living in 11 houses in Las Puntas have been evacuated out of fear of damaging landslides
Update 05/11 - 00:37 UTC :
New 3.6 magnitude earthquake occurred at 00:16 UTC in the Puerto Naos area. The depth : 11 km. The quake was felt by islanders.
Update 04/11 - 23:11 UTC :
The M 4.4 earthquake has triggered a number of landslides / rockfall in the Sabinosa / Guinea area. People were so frightened in the El Golfo bay area that they stayed on the streets for some time.
Based on our earthquake experience, we can stress that earthquakes with a hypocenter below 20 km will seldom generate damage below M 5.0 (and that's a lot stronger). Cracks in walls and collapsing old badly maintained stalls are always possible though.
Update 04/11 - 22:09 UTC :
It is a pity that the current events are happening at night. A 4.4 earthquake can set a number of events in motion in the Las Calmas sea, but because of the darkness it will hardly be seen.
Update 04/11 - 21:45 UTC :
Pevolca has reported tonight that the eruptive vents have never been so close to the coast then today. The fissure has been opened on various locations. They have not specified distances however.
- the combination of strong earthquakes combined with mystery Jacuzzis and strong "rotten egg" odor is making people of La Restinga nervous. Luckily the earthquake was best felt in Frontera.
Update 04/11 - 21:40 UTC :
We think that IGN has rescaled the harmonic tremor graph as it was saturated .
Update 04/11 - 21:26 UTC :
A strong magnitude 4.4 occurred at 20:36 UTC West of Frontera. It was felt as a IV MMI light shaking. First reports from Frontera are mentioning NO damage. These quakes are threatening the re-opened 'Los Roquillos' tunnel. Mr. Santana, chief safety of PEVOLCA declared earlier this week that from 4.5 on, the situation of the tunnel has to be reviewed.
Joke felt it in El Pinar as a big explosion ('knal' in Dutch, she is originally Dutch :))
Normally this kind of earthquakes are recalculated shortly after the earthquake. It happened earlier this weak when a 3.8 was recalculated to 4.3, a big difference.
Data Update 04/11 - 18:53 UTC :
- Very strong harmonic tremor continues to feed the current eruptive vents
- The harmonic graph below is saturated from 13:00 UTC on = strong eruptive period
- 1 strong 3.8 magnitude earthquake at 13:41 UTC - location : El Golfo bay (approx. 4 km out of the coast - depth : 21 km
- 26 earthquakes since midnight UTC (less because of the eruptive period) - 2 earthquakes in between 1.5 and 2, 8 in between 2 and 2.5
- 2 earthquakes were felt by the islanders
Update 04/11 - 17:12 UTC :
We are sorry to show the video below, but this area of the Canary Islands was an area "loved by divers" for the great maritime life and diversity. All this has gone for a while and it will take many, many months or even years before it will be back. The international organization Oceana, protecting the world's oceans, has asked the Spanish and Canary Island governments to create a very large protected area around the island to stimulate the regeneration of maritime life.
Update 04/11 - 17:08 UTC :
Scientists have explained that there are probably 3 eruptive vents at this moment. They also said that the jacuzzi's got stronger in the beginning of the afternoon.
The people of La Restinga are calling it a "great show!"
Update 04/11 - 16:32 UTC :
Joke has done her best to locate the jacuzzi areas as reported today and yesterday. Click on the map to see the greater better detailed version.
Update 04/11 - 15:56 UTC :
The volcano remains very active. Harmonic tremor is still very strong with regular bursts of activity.
Update 04/11 - 15:23 UTC :
Another important detail from the picture series published by the government this morning. Hot eruptive material.
Very important update 04/11 - 14:32 UTC :
New images and video published by the Canary Islands Government are showing a long range of Jacuzzi's, by far the strongest eruptions so far. These images are showing why Joke Volta was excited to report on it.
Clicking on the image will link to the Flickr webpage of the Presidencia del Gobierno de Canarias. The set of pictures shows a lot of eruptive details.
Update 04/11 - 13:55 UTC :
Scientists of IGN who could overfly the area this morning are now convinced that they have lined up the different eruptive submarine vents. It looks more and more that Las Calmas sea eruptions are fissure like vents opening up at different places.
Very Important Update 04/11 - 13:37 UTC :
Joke Volta reports from La Restinga :
- we just went from El Pinar to La Restinga
- a very sulfurous 'rotten egg' odor was noticed on parts of the road
- the viewpoint towards the Las Calmas sea is showing multiple Jacuzzi spots close to the island
- Joke took some pictures, but she is not sure whether it can be see on the pictures (she works with a cheap camera)
- she is now heading back to El Pinar and will send the images shortly
- she also told us that she believes the jacuzzi to be closer to La Restinga than last week
Update 04/11 - 12:24 UTC :
Joke Volta webcam report :
- Good webcam news from El Golfo. Mr. Atilano living in Frontera will direct his webcam to El Golfo this afternoon. Mr. Atilano is a geologist and has also a seat in the El Hierro council. He is monitoring closely the deformation and gases of the Taganasoga mountain / hill, as many are seeing this area as a weak point on the island.
- The Human Webcam of La Restinga is having a chat at El Pinar and did not left the island. Yesterday afternoon she packed her belongings and wanted to fly to the mainland.
- The Tourist service of El Pinar wants to help with the installment of such a a webcam with a view to Las Calmas. They have already a spot with internet connection who would suit the purpose. Only they have no money themselves to buy the equipment. Such a decision takes time (and not only in Spain)
Update 04/11 - 11:19 UTC :
Pevolca will call a meeting in La Restinga at 18:00 local time to inform the villagers about all current activity.
Update 04/11 - 11:09 UTC :
This El Hierro page has just broken the "shares" record of earthquake-report.com. Van, Turkey had the former record at 41,900 shares (sadly enough). El Hierro has now been shared 42,000 times (see above). The volunteers behind Earthquake-Report.com are thanking our many readers for their interest in our planet earth.
Update 04/11 - 10:51 UTC :
An helicopter is currently flying above La Restinga and the Las Calmas Sea. Let us hope that he is shooting images and video.
Update 04/11 - 10:45 UTC :
We have assembled both the image of October 26 and October 29 to highlight the differences.
New October 31 RapidEye satellite picture
What do we see new on this partly too cloudy image.
- the light green stains are far bigger than seen previously as dark green stains on the Guardia Civil pictures (the dark green stains on the RapidEye pictures are shadows of the clouds).
- the grey muddy eruption vent activity was not seen anymore on October 31
- It looks like there is a second eruptive vent at the lower end of the picture (very light concentrated stain). If one carefully looks at the second spot, one can see a light greyish muddy color OR this is the swirl current along an existing seamount as others said it.
- that the current to the right of La Restinga blocks the stain from being spreading to La Estaca
- a big mystery is the coloring in the El Golfo bay. was this coloring created by the sea currents or by new activity
- the dark green patches can also be seen in the El Golfo area (see comment about colors above)! Some people believe that the October 31 coloring at El Golfo are the remainders of the interconnected stain seen on the October 26 RapidEye images, which have been separated by the sea current thereafter.
- why not asking IGN or CSIC scientists to explain what we see on the images, which we repeat, are far better than anything else we have seen so far.
The images have not been ordered by the Spanish state or anybody else, but are an initiative of RapidEye themselves. The least Spanish scientists can do, is sending a "thank You" message to the RapidEye management.
Click on the picture to see the full image
Overview Update 04/11 - 08:31 UTC :
- 16 + M1.5 earthquakes since midnight, 15 were greater than 2 and 10 were greater than 2.5.
- based on the data above, it looks that the seismic activity will further increase today. We expect that we will have multiple +3 quakes during the rest of the day.
- we are not sure at all, but it looks that the new Jacuzzi location is different from the October 10 one. If this would be true then the place of the current eruption will have another depth. We hope that the scientists will publish a report with the exact location parameters and/or depth of the new vent (if new) - so far we haven't seen them
- Joke barometer says "all quiet" in the village - if someting new did happen, she sees it immediately as people behave more nervous and start discussing the subject
FYI - Wikipedia description of Harmonic tremor : Harmonic tremor describes a long-duration release of seismic energy, with distinct spectral (harmonic) lines, that often precedes or accompanies a volcanic eruption. More generally, a volcanic tremor is a sustained signal that may or may not possess these harmonic spectral features.
A harmonic tremor is a sustained release of seismic and/or infrasonic energy typically associated with the underground movement of magma and/or venting of volcanic gases from magma. Being a long-duration continuous signal from a temporally extended source, a volcanic tremor contrasts distinctly with transient sources of seismic radiation, such as tremors that are typically associated with earthquake and explosion.
Update - a very similar situation as at Faial (so far)
Diario de Avisos has written an article that, for those who know Spanish is very interesting to read and for those who do not read Spanish interesting to look at. The birth of an Azores Island. The similarities with the present situation @ El Hierro is astonishing. The stain, the jacuzzi and a surtseyan eruption with the creation of a new island were all present at Faial, one of the Azores islands. Click here to read this outstanding article.
The explosive eruption took place in front of the village of Capelinho, Faial. @ Capelinho everything started with 10 days of seismic activity. Afterwards a green stain followed by a jacuzzi and a grey spot appeared in the ocean (identical phenomena have been seen so far at La Restinga (see below)).
On September 27 1957, a enormous column of combined steam, gases and ash did burst up to 1000 meter high out of the ocean. The diameter of the explosive area was approx. 300 meter! The following days 3 small islands were formed. The continuous activity added more material to the islands which grew together in 1 bigger island approx. 400 meter out of the coast. The eruption phase finally stopped at October 24 1958, more than 1 year later. After the eruption a big part of the island was covered with ash and the earlier formed island did grow gradually to become a part of the main island. A portion of 2.4 square km were added at Faial.
Video of the Capelinho Faial surtseyan eruption