El Hierro Volcano eruption (Canary Islands) : Part 20 – December 16 until December 18

This is Part 20 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)
Read also: Part 18 (from December 8 until December 11)
Read also: Part 19 (from December 12 until December 15

Update 18/12 - 23:59 UTC
- Another Involcan / Guardia Civil video from today, but this time with the Panoramic Camera - Video 1 and Video 2
- Involcan confirms that a new vent has opened to the south east of the former vent. The images are similar than those recorded in October. The same kind of vent and stain colors. The vent seems to be limited in size.
- CO2 levels (measured by the Involcan) have decreased further

Update 18/12 - 20:34 UTC
And after the images the Involcan / Guardia Civil Helicopteres video from today December 18

Update 18/12 - 18:48 UTC
Joke told us this morning that she saw the Guardia Civil / Involcan helicopter. We expected new images and video of the remaining activity tonight. Here they are. All images are courtesy and copyright Guardia Civil Helicopters / Involcan.

Update 18/12 - 18:04 UTC
Beautiful series of images made by Joke Volta during the morning hours ? Joke climbed almost to the top of the mountain carrying some antennas and the IGN cameras. The IGN cameras have been installed at a height of 198 meter to have the best possible view on the stain and the vent. The Cabildo and RTVC webcams are estimated to be installed at a height of 100 meter.

Click on the images to see the series in full size

Update 18/12 - 12:44 UTC
- It looks more and more today that the main vent is no longer active anymore. The new stains are feeding speculation that some new vents may have opened to the east of the former one and at approx. the same distance from La Restinga

Update 18/12 - 10:13 UTC
- Joke has been climbing a mountain behind La Restinga this morning to shoot some pictures. She had to come done again because of the rough wind and has some bruises from gliding on the steepest parts. She reported that the head of the stain was very visible higher up (contrary to what we could expect after the subsiding tremor). Within a few hours you may expect her pictures.
- Joke told us a little earlier that she saw the Guardia Civil / Involcan helicopter flying over the Las Calmas sea. This will bring probably tonight new videos and images. The reason why the helicopter wasn't flying for many days last week was because a shortage of personnel (to be trusted source).

Morning stain as seen from above La Restinga

Update 18/12 - 10:10 UTC
- The RTVC webcam shows 2 well defined stains in another area than the normal vent. We expect that the stain may be a left over from earlier stains traveling around with the current.

Update 18/12 - 09:20 UTC
- Bad news for the volcano fans-followers among our readers. The eruption is subsiding further and looses more and more strength.
- We do not know whether there is a direct connection with what happened yesterday afternoon as it can not be linked with the harmonic tremor graph, but we think that there is certainly an indirect relation. Yesterday afternoon 2 weak earthquakes occurred at very shallow depth in the coastal El Golfo area. The first one occurred at 15:24 had a magnitude of 1.0 and occurred at a depth of 3.4 km. The second one occurred 1 minute later, had a magnitude of 1.4 and occurred at a depth of 3.0 km.
- Reader Heather also posted in her comment this morning that : after the 15:24 quake, people ran to their homes as there was a very strong smell of gas and they had difficulty breathing (ER: unconfirmed so far). Update 12:26 UTC : Joke just called the El Golfo human webcam. She lives in Los Llanillos and said that the quakes were not felt (ER: normal at this weak magnitude) and that she did not smell any special odor.

2 shallow earthquakes on December 17 2011 may have been the end of the eruption at El Hierro

Update 17/12 - 23:59 UTC
NO more earthquakes today
- Harmonic tremor medium with sporadic short bursts
- To finish the evening, an image from the stain as seen by Joke Volta in Las Restinga today at 16:36 UTC
- The second picture is today's NASA MODIS satellite picture. The colors are not natural as we have highlighted contrast. The white band are clouds.

La Restinga stain on December 17 at 16:36 UTC - image courtesy Joke Volta

NASA MODIS Satellite image made on December 17 - Thanks to Peter and Julio

Update 17/12 - 18:54 UTC
- Harmonic tremor graph at CHIE is down. It looks that the problems from yesterday are back.

Joke Volta images of today December 17
When the volcano is a little quieter, Joke is filling up the empty space with the beautiful El Hierro nature.

Update 17/12 - 15:47 UTC
- Joke returned this afternoon to La Restinga from El Pinar to stay for 2 days at La Restinga. She noted a wide stain from higher up the mountain and saw a deep green area above the vent.

Update 17/12 - 15:03 UTC
- The readings of harmonic tremor of the last several hours are indicating that the eruption is not over yet. Medium tremor is not subsiding as strong as before and bursts are again picking up in number.
- Afternoon back-light /glare is blocking a good view of the eruption area in the Las Calmas sea. We expect a better view on what is happening within 2 to 3 hours.
- Joke is a frequent visitor of the CAP / IGN science center in La Restinga and was informed yesterday that IGN has 3 webcams serving their team.
- Carmen Lopez told Joke the day before yesterday that the closure of the La Restinga nightly surveillance will not have any impact on the 24 hours service they are delivering. The eruption is continuously monitored for 24 hours, but in between 20:00 and 08: 00 it is monitored from Madrid. In case of necessity (Madrid seeing some important change) or whenever local people are alerted in La Restinga, the local La Restinga guard will be operational again. If an important change would be noticed, Pevolca will decide immediately to restart the local 24 hours surveillance at La Restinga. Carmen said to Joke that the continuous 24 hours operations are having a serious burden on the IGN personnel. Delegating the follow up to Madrid during the night allows them to work at more comfortable hours.

Joke Volta's early morning pictures
Below 1 image out of 4 - Beautiful sunrise and early morning colors. Click on the image to watch the series.

Data Update 17/12 - 11:26 UTC
- The outcome of the current eruption is still unsure. It can stop completely at any moment as the strength of the tremor is decreasing fundamentally after every strong burst. This did not happen during the last days.

Harmonic tremor on December 17 from midnight until 09:00 - image courtesy IGN

Data Update 17/12 - 09:19 UTC
- A new earthquake measuring 2.3 magnitude occurred 22 km deep below Los Llanillos in the El Golfo area. It will trigger mixed feelings for 2 groups of people. At the one hand the volcano enthusiasts who will see it as a sign that the volcano is not dead yet and at the other hand the local people who are highly irritated with this activity.
- Harmonic tremor was medium all night long with a slightly increasing trend and some occasional short bursts. Yesterday, the tremor subsided strongly after every burst, but this does not happen anymore since 01:00.
- A faint Jacuzzi area can be seen at times in the Telefonica Cabildo eruption webcam (look at the thin white line 1 cm lower than the horizon and vertically above the left harbor wall. The rough see if sometimes blocking the view, but we have seen it many times this morning

Update 16/12 - 23:59 UTC
- Involcan and the Guardia Civil Helicopters made a surveillance flight today. You will see that the eruption has subsided a lot as could be seen on the harmonic tremor graph, but she is still continuing at lesser pace. The gray eruptive vent remained visible and the stain was still very large.

Update 16/12 - 17:59 UTC
- Very unstable harmonic tremor with a couple of very strong bursts in between 16:00 and 17:00. To soon to predict whether the eruption will stop or continue. After each burst the tremor seems to subside strongly and is picking up a little later.
- The UStream webcam from the El Pinar authority is delivering the best images this afternoon. Sometimes, our imagination sees very faint stirring activity.
- Joke had a chat this morning with the RTVC webcam operator. He said that the strong wind was very uncomfortable and that he was allowed to return home today. So, thanks to Joke we know that this webcam (the best of all webcams) is manually operated as well as the reason why ha was down today!
- Joke said that the stain was still visible from above La Restinga but no activity in it
- She also went to the CAP, science center, and had a talk with the IGN man of duty.
- Joke saw the helicopter flying over this morning, so probably we will have new images and video late tonight

El Hierro December 16 sunrise by Joke Volta

Data Update 16/12 - 09:18 UTC
- NO earthquakes since midnight (the latest El Hierro related earthquake occurred on December 14 at 04:02)
- Harmonic tremor gradually picked up since it collapsed yesterday. At this moment it has reached again what we called the main medium tremor from the last couple of days (filled up blue graph). The biggest change is however that the burst are gone, in other words hydromagmatic activity is minor to none.
- The stain is still visible on the eruption webcam in a very windy Las Calmas sea. The active stirring vent cannot be seen anymore.
- Harmonic tremor is still to unstable to allow a prediction of what to come. Will it stop or reactivate ? We will keep you updated.

Harmonic tremor collapse and reactivation from December 15 tot December 16 - image courtesy IGN

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.


  1. jandilson says

    gostaria de saber sobre o brasil neste aspecto do vulcao