El Hierro Volcano eruption (Canary Islands) : Part 17 – December 3 until December 7

This is Part 17 of the El Hierro Volcano eruption report

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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 07/12 - 19:18 UTC
- Today's smoking lava images from Joke Volta. Click on the image to see the images in full size.

Click on the picture to see them in full size

Update 07/12 - 17:21 UTC
- Harmonic tremor is continuing to be medium to strong.

Update 07/12 - 16:21 UTC
- As one could understand, opinions at El Hierro are very mixed (to say the least). Some people are arguing that the decision is "politically motivated" as the decision was taken only 2 days after some action groups called for an immediate lifting of the alerts. Coincidence ? For some people yes and others NO.
- Many people cannot understand the red alert maritime zone. They say, we don't swim that far in the sea :). Others are saying that 150 meters is not that deep at all and that the volcano has been sending  lava to the surface almost continuously for a couple of days. Pevolca declared that they decided to lift the alert because they are currently excluding a land based eruption.
- There seem to be two different depth data sets available a) Sarmiento da Gamboa, 150 meters and b) Margalef, 160 to 180 meters.

VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE 07/12 - 14:48 UTC
Just in from Joke Volta looking at a news conference of Pevolca on TV
- Pevolca has decided to lift the crisis situation at La Restinga and to issue a Yellow Alert for the entire island.
- Pevolca has also decided to maintain the Red Alert in the Las Calmas vent area !
- Pevolca has decided to allow boats to enter the La Restinga port again.
- A maritime corridor of a 1/4 mile has been opened along the coast to allow navigating from La Esteca to La Restinga.
- IEO and IGN have reported that the vent is 140 to 160 meters below sea level (Earthquake-Report.com : bathymetry was finished by the end of last week).

Press release published by the Canary Island government at 15:47 on December 7 (original)

El Comité Director del PEVOLCA limita el semáforo rojo por riesgo volcánico en El Hierro a la zona de exclusión marítima

07-12-2011 ... 15:47 -

- La Restinga pasa a semáforo amarillo, que se mantiene en el resto de la Isla
- El Comité Director del Plan de Protección Civil por Riesgo Volcánico (PEVOLCA) ha decidido en la tarde de hoy limitar el semáforo rojo a la zona marina donde está la erupción, que coincide con la zona de exclusión marítima de 4 millas. En este sentido, La Restinga pasa a estar en semáforo amarillo, igual que el resto de la isla de El Hierro.
- Entre otras medidas también se acordó habilitar con Capitanía Marítima un pasillo de navegación de tránsito para embarcaciones de La Restinga hacia al Norte de 0.25 millas.
- El Comité Científico informó hoy al Comité Director del PEVOLCA que existe un importante descenso en el nivel de sismicidad del fenómeno eruptivo que desde el mes de julio se viene produciendo en la isla de El Hierro, tal y como reflejan los datos del Instituto Geográfico Nacional correspondientes a la última semana donde se registraron 28 eventos, de los que tan sólo uno, que alcanzó una magnitud superior a 3 grados, que fue sentido por la población. La localización de los mismos sigue siendo mayoritariamente en el mar de El Golfo a una profundidad entre 15 y 25 kilómetros.
- En cuanto a las deformaciones, el Comité Científico informó que éstas muestran una tendencia a la subsidencia y en otras zonas de movimiento vertical, aunque hay que esperar a la evolución del fenómeno.
- Por otro lado, ante la comunicación por numerosos vecinos en la jornada de ayer de un intenso olor derivado del azufre, se ha comprobado que los detectores y la estación de calidad del aire ofrecen parámetros normales. En este sentido, y aunque ningún parámetro da valores nocivos para la salud, desde el CSIC se realizarán nuevos análisis del aire para estudiar los componentes y para realizar un seguimiento continuo en la costa.
- Desde el punto de la vista de la erupción, se puede considerar que la misma está estabilizada y el array sísmico sigue confirmando que el tremor tiene una única fuente. Desde hace una semana y de manera intermitente pero continuada aparecen fragmentos de lava, cuyo análisis aportará nueva información sobre la evolución del proceso.
- En este sentido, el IGN confirmó que según el buque oceanográfico Ramón Margalef el cono volcánico ha emitido mucho más material y se ha desdoblado. En estos momentos hay tres conos adosados unos a otros y muy próximos entre sí, asociados al escarpe por el que ascendió el primer cono. Este conjunto alcanza una profundidad de 160-180 metros.
- Así mismo, indican que el material sigue un curso hacia fondos de 1.700-2.000 metros y que hay emisiones en la ladera norte.
- Los trabajos realizados por el buque Sarmiento de Gamboa constatan la estimación de profundidad del cono a 150 metros.

Tungurahua Volcano Ecuador
Some news facts from this morning + we have integrated the webcam image of the Tungurahua volcano in our in-depth article. Click here to open the Tungurahua eruption page.

Update 07/12 - 12:00UTC
- We tried to find out what is wrong with the (very good) RTVC webcam, but we could not find a serious explanation for what is going on. The RTVC website has not said one word about what is happening with their own webcam!

Update 07/12 - 10:36UTC
- Only 1 (M 1.9) earthquake since midnight UTC - Epicenter in the El Golfo area.

Update 07/12 - 10:00UTC - The continuing webcam saga
- Our readers are once again writing us that the webcams are badly directed or do not work. Some of our readers still think that one or more of these webcams were installed by Earthquake-Report.com. No, they were not. A roundup :
- RTVC webcam : colored test bars - equipment failure ? This camera changes to the current screen at night fall and operates again with daylight. They might have missed daylight (just joking)
- Cabildo / Telefonica Eruption webcam : badly directed. The active area in the stain is at the top part of the screen (the location where we and our readers have seen smoking lava) - Once again our proposal : PLEASE give the operator control to AVCAN!
- Ustream : the only one that works well, but as it is a fixed position webcam, there are no additional options available.
- Another request from our readers : please install an InfraRed webcam to indicate the difference in temperature between the jacuzzi and the rest of the stain.

Data Update 07/12 - 09:19UTC
- The IGN site is down at the moment, so we will have to wait a little longer for our morning data update.
- AVCAN, the very good local Canarian vulcanology site has opened a new webcam post. These posts get the most comments of all posts and they are not always friendly to the webcam operators :) - We are truly happy that we are not alone in commenting / criticizing the "not always so good" service from the operators.


Update 06/12 - 23:44UTC
- H2S values are back to normal at midnight.

Update 06/12 - 23:44UTC
- The rotten egg odor has also been confirmed by AVCAN followers. See the H2S values measured tonight in real time at the La Restinga analysis container station.

Contaminantes de la estación U.Movil 3- La Restinga-El Hierro - courtesy Gobierno de Canarias

- The coincidence of the high H2S levels with the very strong harmonic tremor has to be looked at. A pity we could not see the Las Calmas sea at night. The high values may have been triggered by very strong Jacuzzi activity.
- The picture below shows a very long lasting burst of activity that started at 21:26 UTC and lasted for about 20 minutes. The signal decreased gradually thereafter but stayed stronger than before the burst.
- 2 earthquakes today with epicenter in the El Golfo Bay.

Harmonic tremor image December 6 from 21:00 until 22:00 - image courtesy IGN

Update 06/12 - 21:14UTC
Joke reports a Rotten Egg smell in La Restinga. Locals are saying that this happens regularly after sunset when the landmass is cooling and the wind reverses from the sea to the land, carrying the H2S to the coast.

Update 06/12 - 20:10UTC
Julio del Castillo Vivero's time lapse video of the smoking lava stones this morning. Julio makes the best time lapses we have seen so far. A 20 minute Time Lapse from this morning, 08:40 - 13.10 GMT, showing the frenetic volcanic activity at El Mar de las Calmas, near La Restinga, El Hierro.

Update 06/12 - 18:48 UTC

The new depth of the vent and results of the research vessels missions will be published and explained tomorrow after the Pevolca meeting of 1 PM UTC.

Update 06/12 - 13:40 UTC
IGN (Instituto Geográfico National) and IEO (Instituto Español de Oceanografía) and PEVOLCA will publish some new topographic maps from the eruption area soon. We do not have the new exact depths of the vents yet, but Joke Volta was allowed to take pictures of the (new?) map yesterday evening. You will have to wait for the official press release from IGN, IEO and/or Pevolca to find out how many meters the volcano vent grew the last couple of weeks. The bathymetry was done by the Ramón Margalef oceanographic ship during last week's Bimbache 1011-6 mission (until the beginning of December) and the new pictures were made by Joke today.

Image Joke Volta - Maps courtesy IGN, IEO and PEVOLCA - Click on the image to see a photograph of the new bathymetry maps.

Gamalama volcano activity update Indonesia + video
Some of you may be interested in our in-depth reporting of the activity of the Gamalama volcano at Ternate volcano island, Indonesia. We just have published a new update + a Reuters video of the eruption. Click here for the article link.

Update 06/12- 10:59 UTC
The Salvamar is still fishing lava stones / pumice out of the Las Calmas sea (in reality the open Atlantic Ocean) and the smoking lava stones are still arriving at the surface. We have some additional time lapse videos which we will post on our video page (to be created later today). The new time lapse has mainly the same images.

Update 06/12- 10:23 UTC
We made a second time lapse video a few moments ago of the Salvamar coast guard ship nearing the smoking lava stones. 5 minutes of TelevisionCanaria webcam footage have been compressed into 1 minute 32 seconds.

Update 06/12- 09:56 UTC
For those who are unable to connect to the webcam (we think that it has a maximum capacity), here is a short time lapse video that we recorded a few minutes ago. Courtesy the great webcam of TelevisionCanaria!

Update 06/12 - 09:16 UTC
A lot of readers may be mad at us when we tell them to look at the webcam for SLS (smoking lava stones). Let's make an overview of the present multiple webcam situation :
- RTVC webcam : a few minutes after messaging the news of the SLS : no signal anymore. Did we cause too much traffic or was it a simple equipment failure? Update 09:18 UTC : working again.
- Telefonica / Cabildo webcam : not zoomed (of course) - Our proposal stands : give the operator control to the AVCAN people.
- Ustream : fixed webcam - is currently directed to the right of the vent - Our proposal : direct the fixed camera on the vent (the main vent has not changed since the beginning!).

Update 06/12 - 08:47 UTC
At the time of writing a title that the eruption was almost over, the RTVC webcam is showing hot lava stones at the surface. Click here for the RTVC webcam link.

Data Update 06/12 - 08:35 UTC
- NO earthquakes.
- Subsiding harmonic tremor.
- NO more has to be said this morning.
- If the harmonic tremor is decreasing further and if NO more earthquakes can be detected the 2011 eruption may have come to an end.

Update 06/12 - 08:30 UTC
Julio del Castillo Vivero has made a 10 hour in 10 minute time lapse from the RTVC.es webcam yesterday. Julio has added time and date stamps to the video for scientific purposes. The time lapse video can be watched here.


Update 05/12 - 23:30 UTC
- Harmonic tremor subsided during the afternoon and evening hours but picked up a little around midnight.
- 3 earthquakes today.

Update 05/12 - 23:15 UTC
- Guardia Civil Helicopters and Involcan scientific flight of today, December 5, 2011. A clear jacuzzi is visible during the morning hours. The second video is quite boring in the beginning (first 3 minutes), but the jacuzzi action comes at the end of the video.

Update 05/12 - 18:03 UTC
- The collection of images below (click on the image to enlarge them) is showing today's activity (thanks to Julio del Castillo Vivero), but also images Joke took during the night and early this morning.

Images of December 5 - click on the picture to watch the full series in Picasa

Update 05/12 - 13:40 UTC - Dave Taylor writes from La Restinga

Yesterday (Sunday) we dived at La Caleta close to the airport in the northern part of the island. The visibility was better but there is still a green tinge apparent.
I seem to have developed a cold so am not diving today. The stain is pretty clear to see but visibility alters as the sun changes position or clouds pass by.
Talking to the land based Vulcanologists all we could establish is that they don't seem to share information with the sea based team, which seems a bit odd. All they could say about the size of the volcano is that on Nov 8th the base was about a quarter of of kilometre - clearly it will be bigger now. They doubt the eruption will last long enough for the crater to reach near to the surface.
We have a good view of the stain from our balcony. I have not been able to see any material being ejected today (12:00 noon).
The impact on the town becomes clearer every day. Some of the ladies of the town earn their living by cleaning tourist apartments. I learned yesterday that the lady that normally cleans my place has gone to Tenerife because there is no work in Restinga. The laundry underneath the apartments must also be out of work. I read that room occupancy at this time of year should be 50% it is less than 15%. The owner of one of the most popular restaurants told me that in one month he may have to close the business.
There is one dive centre operational, all of the others appear to be closed. Future bookings are slim to non existent. A grim outlook. A pity when this is a great opportunity to dive in places that are normally out of reach.
If any one wants to visit to dive then contact: http://www.centrodebuceoelhierro.com
Dropped by the Vulcanologists to enquire about the state of play. All they could say is that things are just the same......

Weak jacuzzi activity and Guardia Civil helicopter on December 5 - image captured by Julio del Castillo Vivero

Update 05/12 - 13:40 UTC - The continuing webcam saga
- RTVC.es has installed a professional webcam (not an HD-webcam) in La Restinga. Exactly as we asked for, but.... the operators of the "zoomable" webcam are sick in the same bed as the other ones. They have NO skills at all in zooming in to the right spot of the stain. Showing the stain is OK but it has no added value at all. The location of the vent is the place to be. They may follow up on our advice : give the operator control to one of the AVCAN friends. These local men and women have a very huge knowledge of what is going on. At this moment, earthquake-report.com is thinking that the Telefonica / Cabildo webcam is still the best to see details of the eruption zone (if they have zoomed it in at least).
Julio del Castillo Vivero recorded his timelapse videos with the RTVC webcam.
An official press release on the webcam from TelevisionCanaria:

TelevisiónCanaria has installed a camera to constantly monitor the eruptive process on the island of El Hierro. This is a professional camera from the news services of TelevisiónCanaria equipped with a special purpose high powered lens and it has an operator whenever there is daylight.
The images are broadcasted constantly on the web link, and it has already taken high quality images of the smoking pyroclasts these days, and broadcast them both online and through the TelevisiónCanaria News Services.
The camera, located in a privileged position near La Restinga, constantly follows the situation of the underwater eruption located south of El Hierro. Because it has an operator, it can record the activity focus not only of the eruption, but also of any situation which is seen in the area around La Restinga (...)
The device has a telephoto lens 35, which doubles the images it records, enabling it to achieve a very high level of detail compared to any other webcams installed in the area.
TelevisiónCanaria will maintain the deployment of this camera as long as necessary. This initiative is supported by Telefónica Movistar, IdecNet, Abertis and the Canary Islands Government.

Data Update 05/12 - 08:59 UTC
- Involcan reports that the CO² values @ El Hierro have decreased 30% compared to the highest value at the end of November. The vertical columns are the number of daily earthquakes. The green horizontal lines show the normal CO² levels at El Hierro.

CO2 emission as measured by ITER and Involcan - Image courtesy INVOLCAN

Data Update 05/12 - 08:59 UTC
- The stronger harmonic tremor has been continuing all night long with regular bursts.
- As far as we can see this morning on the webcam, the bursts cannot be seen at the surface.
- 2 earthquakes since midnight UTC - Depth 18.5 and 20.5 - Magnitude 2.1 and 2.4 - Location epicenter : El Golfo.


Update 04/12 - 23:26 UTC
- 3 earthquakes today,n max. magnitude 2.0
- Serious increase of harmonic tremor with some slight frequency changes starting at 19:00 UTC

Harmonic tremor on December 4 - Watch the increase at 19:00 - image courtesy IGN

Update 04/12 - 23:00 UTC
Joke Volta is staying a couple of days at an apartment in La Restinga and enjoying some rest after many days spent moving to another house (the apartment is owned by Bea, the La Restinga human webcam :) - Bea has a number of apartments for rent on a daily, weekly or monthly basis - Bea stayed with Joke when La Restinga was evacuated) .
La Restinga is of course relative for Joke as she runs around and reports whatever she sees and hears. Most of the pictures below are from the stain. 2 of the pictures are from a meeting with Paulino Rivera, the President of the Canary Islands, who met with the village deputies. As you can see on the image everything is quite informal. This is an island where everybody knows everybody. Click on the images to see the entire series from today.

Update 04/12 - 15:46 UTC
Julio del Castillo Vivero made a timelapse video of this morning's RTVC. He compressed several hours of recordings into 5 minutes. Almost all the (limited) action (smoking lava stones) can be seen during the first 2 minutes.

Update 04/12 - 14:00 UTC
- Joke captured a big piece of smoking lava on one of the webcams.
- No Guardia Civil - Involcan boat trip this morning because of the heavy seas.

Activity on the morning of December 4 - image captured by Joke Volta

Update 04/12 - 12:19 UTC
Jouni Elo of Finland just wrote : I've seen quite a few times on the webcam smoking lava at the left side of the stain during the recent hour just like Joke Volta and Paul Abuelo had mentioned. Of course it would be nice if the webcam (Movistar, vista la Restinga Zona erupcion) would be zoomed in a little bit more. Maybe the controllers are still asleep.
Earthquake-Report.com comment : NO comment

Update 04/12 - 12:00 UTC
A number of people told us this morning that the BBC had written an article on El Hierro. The same article has also been linked by many Spanish websites (they are proud to be mentioned by the BBC). We have been trying to attract attention to the El Hierro eruption by writing to many mainstream newspapers and websites with the result : NOT important enough. Unless the fire is rising above the water they will come (like NZZ earlier this week) and then vanish again (we are sorry to be a bit sarcastic here, but people following this website from the very beginning know what we are talking about). But, we are fair people and out of respect for the readers who sent us this message, here is the link to the BBC article.

Update 04/12 - 10:27 UTC
- Reader Paul Abuelo and Joke Volta just mentioned smoking lava at the left side of the stain. Unfortunately the many webcams we have now haven't noticed it yet and are still zoomed out.

Update 04/12 - 09:17 UTC
- The Cabildo of El Hierro has requested that Binter and Islas Airways offer more frequent and cheaper flights to El Hierro.
- Pressure is building on Pevolca to lift the current alarm levels (red for La Restinga and yellow for the rest of the Island) as it is affecting tourism.

Data Update 04/12 - 08:56 UTC
- Medium harmonic tremor which decreased a little during the night.
- Very visible stain on the webcam this morning. The well defined stain confirms that the vent activity is still continuing.
- NO earthquakes since midnight.
- Weather outlook : nice sunny weather, wave height up to 2.4 meters, wind blowing at 17 to 20 knots from the northeast.


Data Update 03/12 - 23:12 UTC
- Continuing medium to strong harmonic tremor.
- 3 earthquakes today, 2 more in between 17:41 and 18:34, both M 2.3 at a depth of 19.5 and 19.4 km.

Update 03/12 - 23:00 UTC
15 minute time lapse video of the La Restinga webcam from today. 8 hours of recording (12:07 until 18:13) have been compressed into 15 minutes. You will only see a nice stain. If you like colors you may be looking at them. NO jacuzzi or smoking lava today. Watch for the sunset at the end. The “green blanket” from the volcanic magma release has been moving along the coast during the day and can be clearly observed in the images. The time lapse video is courtesy of Julio del Castillo Vivero.

Data Update 03/12 - 16:59 UTC
- Only 1 earthquake today (see below in our first data update in the morning).
- Harmonic tremor can be called strong to very strong. We do not see too much from it in the Las Calmas sea, but we can be certain that the vent is still erupting.

Update 03/12 - 16:00 UTC
After Ian Carson, who returned to the UK earlier this week, another Earthquake-report.com reader has landed on El Hierro. Dave Taylor will be sharing his information if he hears or sees something worthwhile telling us.
He just wrote the following :

We arrived a day late because of a missed connection in Madrid. La Restinga is quiet. There are some tourists but business is well down. The businesses have been offered a one off payment of Eur 1000! The town council of El Pinar is offering to use next year's budget to help the town, but that may be too late for some of the businesses.
The fragile floating rocks are being stored by the team of (7-8?) vulcanologists in what was the town library. The building is open to visitors most of the day. I talked to one of the scientists and he said that these sorts of events usually lasted between 30 and 90 days. I think we are around day 56 or so. I guess a good question at this point is how long will it take the sea bed and the fish etc. to recover?
The light blue stain and the brown stain emitting from the fissure were very clear to see from the road to/from El Pinar this afternoon. We dived just up the coast from Restinga near to the Parador Hotel, a dive known as Roque de Bonanza. The water was very green and visibility, for El Hierro, poor.

Update 03/12 - 15:25 UTC
We are currently loading pages with embedded videos. As you might have read in an earlier update, Involcan agreed on our request to load their videos to a YouTube account, which enables us to embed the videos on our pages. A big "Thank You" to Involcan for their work - mostly IGN and CSIC are getting all the credit for the scientific work, but the Involcan follow up is extremely important too. Also Involcan shares its data with Pevolca.
Additionally, we will post other interesting videos on the same page. Click here to go to the overview page. Each date on the overview page is linked to a page with embedded videos. We will need several more hours to finish this job.

Update 03/12 - 10:24 UTC
Reader Ulrich Rostek wrote the following in our comments section :
Just found a Spanish mystery suspense thriller film titled “Hierro”. Besides a dark and irritating story the film provides some great landscape shots of El Hierro, where the story takes place. For further details see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierro_%28film%29.

Data Update 03/12 - 09:22 UTC
- Medium to strong harmonic tremor since midnight UTC.
- Active stain (grayish) still very much present to the south of La Restinga (eruption webcam)
- 1 M 2.0 earthquake at a depth of 21 km since midnight (El Golfo)
- Weather outlook : nice sunny weather with northeasterly winds of 21 knots, wave height approx. 2 meters.


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 someone who wants to discuss and read about all aspects of volcanoes, this discussion panel is be a very good place to hang out. Especially as we start speculating about what will happen next, this panel is a great place to visit. Give it a chance.

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