El Hierro Volcano eruption (Canary Islands) : Part 24 – January 4 until January 7

This is Part 24 of the El Hierro Volcano eruption report


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With the collaboration of Joke Volta, an El Hierro resident.
Read also: Part 1 (28/7 - early 09) - Part 2 (25/09 - 10/10) - Part 3 (11/10 - 13/10 - Part 4 (14/10 - 17-10) - Part 5 (18/10 - 21/10) - Part 6 (22/10 - 26/10 ) - Part 7 (27/10 - 31/10 ) - Part 8 (01/11 - 03/11 ) - Part 9 (04/11 - 06/11 ) - Part 10 (07/11 - 08/11) - Part 11 (09/11- 11/11) - Part 12 (12/11 - 15/11) - Part 13 (16/11 - 19/11) - Part 14 (20/11 - 23/11) - Part 15 (24/11 - 27/11) - Part 16 (28/11 - 02/12) - Part 17 (03/12 - 07/12) - Part 18 (08/12 - 11/12) - Part 19 (12/12 - 15/12) - Part 20 (16/12 - 18/12) - Part 21 (19/12 - 25/12) - Part 22 (26/12 - 31/12) - Part 23 (01/01 - 03/01) -  Part 24 (04/01 - 07/01)
Useful links : @VolcanoReport - El Hierro Picasa Photo Album - VIDEO OVERVIEW Page
Our Webcam pages : 3 in 1 pageLas Calmas UstreamLa Restinga villageEruption webcam

Update 07/01 - 23:59 UTC
Lets finish this extraordinary day with the (once again) superb images which have been taken by the Guardia Civil helicopteres and Involcan. We are also sure that scientists will have a very huge task in analyzing what exactly is happening here. Hot SLS who are coloring the water leaving traces of different components. Mother nature in its complexity but also in her impressive beauty. Even after following the process since many months we are still speechless in what we sometimes see.

Click on the pictures to see them all in full size format

Update 07/01 - 22:51 UTC
What you will see on this very short video is burning lava. We have more footage, but fainter short blue lights. We have zoomed the area a little bit and have slowed down the speed with a factor 2. Thanks to all our readers who have seen the (limited) action (so far).

Update 07/01 - 21:33 UTC
- After a first observation of the video footage, we can say that the area that the SLS's are surfacing is very wide, which means that (without taking into account the current) the lava area along the vent has become wider too. A second finding is that we still cannot speak of steaming from the water but that the steam / smoke is from isolated SLS floaters.
- Guardia Civil Helicopters / Involcan flight of this morning. Enjoy once again the beauty of a volcano
Click here for the second video

Update 07/01 - 18:51 UTC
- What to look for tonight ? We would advise our readers to check from time to time the light sensitive Cabildo / Eruption webcam. We are far from sure that the gas burning episodes will be visible tonight - , but the chance might exist. Success. If we notice something, we will share our findings with you. If you are seeing it before us, feel free to send us your comment by the form below. Thank you.

Update 07/01 - 18:30 UTC
Joke Volta pictures of today. Click on the image to see the full series.

Update 07/01 - 18:23 UTC
- The picture below shows very well the haze (steam) above the vent.

Update 07/01 - 17:59 UTC
- What an extraordinary action today and not only steam, but also many earthquakes showing the restless power of the magma. Let us give an overview of the earthquakes until now :
M 1.5 @ 16 km at 06:23 Here
M 1.1 @ 12 km at 06:43 Here
M 1.0 @ 14 km at 10:51 Here
M 2.1 @ 15 km at 11:30 Here -- Lanzarote
M 1.2 @ 15 km at 15:34 Here
M 1.1 @ 19 km at 15:57 Here
M 1.2 @ 19 km at 15:59 Here
M 1.3 @ 14 km at 16:58 Here

Steaming vent - image captured by Dominic Murray

Update 07/01 - 13:43 UTC
- On the picture below you can see the vapor/(gas mixture?) hanging above the wide stirring area. We are convinced that Involcan will have measured the concentrations from the helicopter, but until now we haven not seen the results from these measurements. They might not be published after all.

Update 07/01 - 13:20 UTC
- A new M 2.1 earthquake occurred at 11:30 at a depth of 15 km to the west of Lanzarote at approx. the same location than another one, a few days ago.

Update 07/01 - 13:17 UTC - How to connect to the Cabildo / Telefonica webcam
- We do not complain at the moment because we have an image for now.
- Readers like David (and many others) cannot get connected to this webcam. Here are a few tips from us and other readers who are more lucky
1 - ER : Use both La Restinga villageEruption webcam links on top of this screen. These links are connecting you with an IP address, not a name address which may have another IP number. Select the cam you want. If you get a "FileNotFound" error, refresh you page (F5 in most cases or the recycle sign in your browser) every time you receive the error message. After 5 to 10 times your in. Success
2 - Daniel : try more often! I got the same error as you. After the 5th click, it worked. Another hint: First click on the “Panoramica general”-cam, and after that on “Zona de erupcion”-cam. That solved my problem sitting in front of a black error screen…!
3 - Diana : Hi David…try this, http://www.elhierrowebcam.com/

Update 07/01 - 13:03 UTC
- Due to the long time that the helicopter is in the air, we assume that he returned to the scene with other people and that he has seen new elements (this is only a guess, but so far we haven't seen the helicopter this long in the past).
- The poor Ustream webcam who did such a terrific job the last couple of days is unfortunately zoomed next to the action (we pardon them is this is a fix camera).
- The Cabildo webcams are now offering the better view showing us a VERY WIDE stirring area with occasional big SLS. They must be big as the cam is not very much zoomed !

Update 07/01 - 11:42 UTC
- A lot less SLS at the moment but the wide angle where they come up persists.
- Guardia Civil / Involcan helicopter arrived just too late to capture the better action, although we are sure that their images and video will be beautiful again.

Image captured by Julio del Castillo Vivero on Cabildo / Telefonica webcam

Update 07/01 - 11:29 UTC
- new earthquake
M 1.0 @ 14 km at 10:51 Here
- Cabildo / Movistar eruption webcam is working again (on a Saturday !). We do thank all our readers who have joined us in asking Movistar to fix the problem.
- The U-stream webcam reveals powerful floater lava blocks in a far wider area than ever before. The floaters are surfacing in different spots whereas before they almost all surfaced at the same narrow spot.

Update 07/01 - 08:51 UTC
- 2 new earthquakes since midnight UTC
M 1.5 @ 16 km at 06:23 Here
M 1.1 @ 12 km at 06:43 Here
- harmonic tremor a little bit rising since 07:30 this morning
- continuous steaming above the vent and based on what we saw yesterday an even wider steam patch today (maybe in part due to a stronger blowing wind).
- Cabildo / Telefonica webcams @ La Restinga "out of order". Yesterday afternoon 800 people were looking at the same time at the U-stream webcam. No alternative. The FREE U-stream signal handler from ACN Press and El Pinar Ayuntamiente is doing a better job than a MULTI-BILLION COMPANY like TELEFONICA. As the eruption process continues at a steady pace and the current visiting numbers will only be peanuts compared to what will come if the eruption turns subaerial. AXIS, the company who delivered the webcams, is based on their webpage, an important player in Spain. They can do a lot better as they have also HD cams in their catalog (we want eventually to pay for part of the cost).

Update 07/01 - 01:01 UTC
- Our dedication for the volcano goes very far 🙂
Joke was checking the AVCAN news with her binocular and YES, she saw some glowing (burning) gas in the vent (Joke also saw the burning gas the day before yesterday). The smoke could also well seen. The burned gas can be seen about every 15 minutes she says. This afternoons activity is just continuing.
Thank you Joke for your nightly work !

Update 06/01 - 22:22 UTC
- AVCAN people living in La Restinga are reporting burning lava stones like the day before yesterday !

Update 06/01 - 21:22 UTC
- Joke Volta images of the day. A lot of walking, but limited in zoom to capture the action in the Las Calmas sea in full detail.

Update 06/01 - 20:59 UTC
- A new M 1.3 earthquake occurred at 18:08 at a depth of 14 km. Click here for the epicenter
- A full day Time Lapse of the volcanic activity at El Hierro, Canary Islands. There has been a lot of smoking lava stones coming out today, while tremor remained at medium levels.

Since a few days nobody at Telefonica or Movistar (the commercial trade mark) is doing something on their server issue. We need your assistance and hope you wil URGENTLY tweet the followig sentence. Ask your friends to Retweet as much as possible.

@movistar_es ¡Las webcams de la erupción volcánica en El Hierro NO FUNCIONAN! Hay mucha actividad, por favor arreglarlas pronto. Gracias

Translated : The El Hierro eruption webcams DO NOT WORK. There is a lot of activity, please fix them as soon as possible. Thank You

Update 06/01 - 16:44 UTC
- IGN has listed a new shallow earthquake with a magnitude of 1.2 at a depth of 7 km. It happened at 13:48 UTC to the SW of El Pinar (in fact right below the Tacaron coast)

Update 06/01 - 15:16 UTC - GPS numbers
GPS graph shows further movement of some stations
IGN only shows changes in the lateral distance between the indicated stations. No North-South components, no East-West components, and more importantly, no elevation change components.
GPS data shows the relative *distance* between FRON station (located on El Hierro) and other surrounding stations.
Rather, that FRON station got closer to them (or the opposite instead, but we have no way to know from those charts alone).
Negative values = FRON station is getting closer to xyz station (shorter distance)
Positive values = FRON station is getting away from xyz station (longer distance)

Update 06/01 - 14:23 UTC
- Some people are asking us, what would be the next step to look for before it gets really Surtseyan ?
If steam jets are starting to appear (even at limited height of a few meters), this would mean that the lava generated superheated steam reaches the surface waters. From that moment, everything is possible. If the volcano activity gets weaker again, the jets will fall back. It the vent continues to grow with the same activity, the superheated steam will soon carry ash and will become blackened.
- We do not expect this to happen soon, as we expect the current smoking material to be floaters. IGN will certainly inform us in time.
- Based on earlier interviews in the local press, we think that the current philosophy is : no gas alert and / or no earthquakes and / or no strong harmonic tremor = no (potentially dangerous) eruption action
- Good to know is that : IGN people do not really talk to the press about the alert situation, only Pevolca is in charge for press reports

Update 06/01 - 13:55 UTC
- Thanks to Julio del Castillo Vivero and the ACN Press people, the U-stream webcam is back online.
- NOBODY seems to bother about what is going on at the vent.
- It's Three Kings Day, a festival day in Spain, that maybe the real reason about what is happening.
- We are wandering if people at La Restinga feel OK with what is happening (in the meantime, Joke told me that people at La Restinga are telling her that there is "a lot of activity" today).
- No helicopters, no boats. No infrared camera's at night.
- Joke went to the CAP science center a little while ago and the IGN people on duty said - As usual, nothing special.
- IGN People at CAP were laughing about the burning lava at sea the day before yesterday (thousands of people have seen this phenomenon, images are online, videos are online, what else do they need to be convinced that gas was ignited + Joke has confirmed the burning lava with her binoculars ).
This site is not a "science fiction site, but a factual site".

Image captured from the ACN-U-stream webcam a few minutes ago - image captured by Julio del Castillo Vivero

Update 06/01 - 13:51 UTC
Julio del Castillo Vivero (the time lapse specialist studying photography in the UK) has just made a call the the ACN press people (U-stream cam). Here is what he got to now :
Just been on the phone with ACN Press. Today, as it is a holiday, there was only a person in charge, and the technical side is not in today. She said she would try making a few calls and see if there would be any luck. If today can't be repaired, she said tomorrow (but its Saturday, so lets see... could be like this till Monday).

Update 06/01 - 13:31 UTC
What currently happens is VERY STRANGE ! We cannot check it of course, because we have no serious cams, but the smoke tends to be continuous from one source. Until now we always had smoke patches, NEVER a continuous smoking source (2 from time to time). This does not mean he will go Surtseyan, but it is a new fact nevertheless.

Update 06/01 - 12:57 UTC
- Why is there NO OPERATOR on the Cabildo / Telefonica webcam ???
A lot of activity but NO zoomed image !
- U-stream webcam does not seem to cope with the demand as we are getting in all our browsers the same static image !

Update 06/01 - 10:26 UTC
- A lot of continuing activity @ the Las Calmas sea, however no webcam operator to zoom the cam on the vent. This maybe the best advice for the eruption webcam : Zoom it into a little wider area than the zoom factor of the U-stream cam and we see everything what is happening above the vent. The vent hasn't changed location since many weeks, thus the location will always be right.
- We still think that the touristic potential of a HD-webcam would be great for El Hierro - The cost is minimal for a company like Telefonica. Find below how a HD- image looks like in Iceland (they have many HD-cams on their volcanoes). Why has Iceland HD-webcams on their volcanoes ? Because they are using it both as information to their own people and to attract tourism to the island (they need every tourist dollar after the crisis)
- Since many days people have difficulties linking to the webcam. Using the IP address helps and refreshing helps too, but nobody at Telefonica seems to follow the cam and is doing something about it. This is basic server operations, nothing special.

Example of a HD-webcam in Iceland - they have many webcams like this - click on the image to to to the webcam site of MILA in Iceland and take a "crisp" look at the volcanoes !

Update 06/01 - 09:58 UTC
- The area where the smoking blocks are surfacing is a lot wider than yesterday.

Update 06/01 - 08:26 UTC
- Smoking Lava stones (SLS we call them, just to make life a little simpler) in the (faint) Jacuzzi area
- stain is very well visible in the calm Las Calmas sea
- harmonic tremor stayed at the same level as last night 21:30, when it picked up after subsiding a little
- NO earthquakes so far

Update 05/01 - 23:55 UTC
- Harmonic tremor did start to increase at 21:30 UTC
- No additional earthquakes (sometimes hard to say as it can take some time before they are listed on the IGN page)
- reader Marchal attracted our attention to the presence of many seagulls above the jacuzzi waters. It can be seen also on the webcam, but from the helicopter they do not look like moving points but like seagulls. Are these birds attracted by gases, the temperature of the water or do they see some dead fish ?

Update 05/01 - 20:22 UTC - Fireworks !
The fire tonight on the webcam is NO volcano activity but fireworks due to Three Kings Day as mentioned earlier today.

Update 05/01 - 20:11 UTC
What a wealth today. A lot of information + an overflight of the Guardia Civil Involcan helicopter taking pictures and recording a video.
People who want to see also the other 2 videos from Guardia Civil and Involcan today can click here : Video1, Video2 and Video Pancam1 Video Pancam2 Video Pancam3 (Panoramic Camera)

Click on an image to watch all the pictures in full size - all pictures copyright and courtesy Involcan / Guardia Civil Helicopteres

Update 05/01 - 19:17 UTC
- At 17:05 UTC a Felt M 3.5 earthquake (we got notifications of it) occurred approx. 30 km to the west of Lanzarote at a depth of 11 km. Yet another earthquake today (the sixth in total) in another Canary Islands location. Click here to see the epicenter.

Update 05/01 - 18:29 UTC
- Smoking lave pieces can still be seen on the Eruption webcam. Not the big chunks like yesterday but smaller material.
- CAP person on duty was told today about the fire in the sea, but nobody had seen the effects in the office !

Update 05/01 - 16:02 UTC
- The glowing lava that we were able to see during the night is probably caused by brittle lava blocks who are breaking apart. IGN did measure the temperatures the last couple of days of the lava blocks while they were picked up out of the sea. The lava blocks which we can see are hollow inside and are containing a lot of gas. This gas is the reason that they are floating to the surface waters. At the outside the blocks were no warmer than 40°C but the gases at the inside were 200°C. A theory for the flames we saw last night (it was no glowing but ignited gas - see video Julio) is that the hot gas (hard to say which composition) is ignited just by the oxygen when the brittle lava is breaking apart or that the gas is ignited by the high temperature of the lava at the inside.
Once the gas is burned, the lava sinks back to the sea floor.

Update 05/01 - 15:22 UTC
- A very curious pattern in GPS deformation patterns (the data which are published are probably 2 days old). The deformation at HI02, HI03 and HI04 climbed strongly ! La Palma deformation stayed approx. the same, but Tenerife and La Gomera GPS data decreased the strongest since the beginning of El Hierro activity. The current earthquakes at Tenerife may have an origin in this strong movement (tension). The smoking lava Yesterday and Today also. @ IGN to solve the clue here. Hopefully they will explain in their report later today.
Comment from reader Mr. Moho : FRON gps station, located roughly on the middle of El Hierro island, according to the latest data got farther relatively to HI01, HI02, HI03, HI04 (especially) which are disseminated all around the island. At the same time, FRON is getting closer to ALAJ, TN03 and AZAN located on other islands to the West of El Hierro. To me, it looks like there is a renewed inflation ongoing on the entire island.

Update 05/01 - 15:00 UTC
The first 4 images of the series are Jokes theme of the day : Three Kings Day - a festival day in Spain. Tonight ar 19:30 UTC a ship with the 3 kings will enter the port of La Restinga and a lot of festivities will follow. Click on the picture to see the images in full size.

Update 05/01 - 07:50 UTC
- At 01:00 harmonic tremor decreased steadily for about 2 hours to increase later again. At the time of writing we have half of the HT than during the light show yesterday evening
- 1 M 1.8 earthquake occurred at a depth of 13 km at 00:02
- 2 small earthquakes (normally not to be felt by people) occurred 10 km to the east of Guimar / Tenerife. No depth has been provided. Both earthquakes are visible on the CCAN graph. A lot more is needed to activate Teide volcano, like GPS deformation, etc etc. These kind of earthquakes occur many times in a year.

Harmonic tremor from midnight UTC until 07:40 - image courtesy IGN

Update 04/01 - 23:39 UTC
- Julio del Castillo Vivero, has made an even better time lapse version of the glowing lava stones. He described what he did as follows : All clips are doubled to be slowed down 25% and zoomed in. What would we do without Julio and Joke !

Update 04/01 - 23:17 UTC - video glowing lava stones
As it may be hard for some people staring at a black screen, we have reverse time lapsed and zoomed what we saw a little earlier. A better copy made by Julio will arrive soon.

Update 04/01 - 22:44 UTC
Joke confirms that she has seen the glowing lava stones live from La Restinga (with her binoculars)

Update 04/01 - 22:22 UTC
There we go again and take the information as it is - we are not responsible when it should be a boat : )
- Reader Hein commented in our comments section below that he has seen at irregular intervals glowing ashes on the (still zoomed) eruption webcam. After our boat lights history we were far from eager to put this information online, but after looking at the webcam ourselves, we saw the same short-lived incandescent light at various locations . AVCAN members are also sure ! It is smoking lava !
Joke is currently out with her binoculars to look to the sea. She has not seen the glowing lava pieces yet but, sitting on some lava field outside La Restinga, she sees the stain clearly in the moonlight.
This is what can be seen now on then on the eruption webcam (we have captured 2 of the pictures ourselves in about 10 minutes time):

Update 04/01 - 21:21 UTC
- El Hierro, a piece of art made by the NASA Modis Aqua satellite (image 1 - strong current makes these beautiful patterns)
- Canary Island as created by the same artist. Click on the Canary Islands picture to watch in in full format

Update 04/01 - 17:27 UTC
- Joke has stopped her afternoon photographic sessions (due to too much glare) to do some better things like shooting pictures in the port of La Restinga. Today was a great day as she could make images from "the lava catch of the day".
Update : we did add about 20 more images to the current set, so more lava but also SLS

Click on an image to watch the series in full size

Update 04/01 - 16:54 UTC
- Worldwide VOLCANO news - Video of the eruption at the Zubair volcano group in Yemen - This might happen also at El Hierro if the eruption gets to the Surtseyan phase.

Update 04/01 - 16:52 UTC
- Harmonic tremor remains the same as earlier today
- IGN has listed a M 1.4 earthquake which occurred at 05:37 UTC at a depth of 17 km. Epicenter

Update 04/01 - 11:52 UTC
- A 7 minute SLS time lapse video from specialist Julio del Castillo Vivero (this morning activity)

Update 04/01 - 10:49 UTC
- A lot of SLS / smoking pumice this morning.
- Salvamar Adhara is out to pick up material or even to try videotaping what happens (if they are ready to risk their material).

Update 04/01 - 08:34 UTC
- Just like yesterday morning, the Las Calmas Ustream shows a lot of smoking material (Ustream has the better zoom this morning)
- NO new earthquakes
- Minor harmonic tremor (equal than yesterday)
- Cabildo / Telefonica webcam is down via the usual link, but can still be reached under the following link (we think a nameserver issue) :

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.