El Hierro Volcano eruption (Canary Islands) : Part 29 – January 31 until February 4

This is Part 29 of the El Hierro Volcano eruption report


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With the collaboration of Joke Volta, an El Hierro resident and Julio del Castillo Vivero, photographer.
Read also : (28/7 - early 09)  - (25/09 - 10/10)  -  (11/10 - 13/10) - (14/10 - 17-10)  -  (18/10 - 21/10)   (22/10 - 26/10 ) - (27/10 - 31/10 ) - (01/11 - 03/11 )(04/11 - 06/11 ) - (07/11 - 08/11) - (09/11- 11/11)  - (12/11 - 15/11)  - (16/11 - 19/11)  - (20/11 - 23/11) - (24/11 - 27/11) - (28/11 - 02/12) - (03/12 - 07/12) - (08/12 - 11/12) - (12/12 - 15/12) - (16/12 - 18/12) - (19/12 - 25/12) - (26/12 - 31/12) - (01/01 - 03/01) - (04/01 - 07/01) - (08/01 - 13/01) - (14/01 - 19/01) - (20/01 - 25/01) -  (26/01 - 30/01) - (31/01 - 04/02) - Part 30 (05/02 - 10/02)
Useful links : @VolcanoReport - El Hierro Picasa Photo Album
Our Webcam pages : 3 in 1 pageLas Calmas UstreamLa Restinga villageEruption webcam

Update 04/02 - 23:33 UTC
- There are definitely SLS in the sea at this moment. Thanks to the Movistar webcam operator who works now in cooperation with Avcan and Julio, the webcam is now very well positioned and which gives almost constant gray light, often orange when the SLS are surfacing.

Update 04/02 - 17:33 UTC
- A new earthquake M 2.1, first earthquake after 10 hours:
04/02/2012 16:48 Depth 12 km M 2.1 W EL PINAR

Update 04/02 - 16:12 UTC
- We have published Joke Volta images from yesterday February 3 in our picasaweb (see yesterday's 23:58 update or click here).
- Also, Joke Volta and Julio del Castillo Vivero worked together to create a new high resolution panoramic image from El Hierro. It's a must see. Click on photograph to enlarge.

The photograph was taken on the morning of the 3rd February 2012.

Update 04/02 - 15:47 UTC
- Geolurling (nickname) is a specialist plotter and has created 3- and 4-D animations of earthquakes and GPS data since many months. The first part of the video goes into the discussion of using GPS data from a research project from the Involcan and a Japanese professor. We are showing this video because it gives a very good impression of where the earthquakes are taking place (second part). The plotted earthquakes have taken place in between Jan. 1 and Febr. 2.

Update 04/02 - 15:34 UTC
- Morning images of Joke Volta. The first part of the village of La Restinga and the stain, the second part close-ups from the jacuzzi area

Update 04/02 - 14:55 UTC
- 6 earthquakes so far today. Among the 6 by far the most powerful (felt) earthquake since many weeks, a M 3.4 earthquake. Only from M 5 below land, earthquakes are getting dangerous.
04/02/2012 02:41:53 Depth 15 km M 1.7 SW FRONTERA
04/02/2012 03:04:33 Depth 16 km M 1.6 SW EL PINAR
04/02/2012 04:40:28 Depth 16 km M 3.4 SW EL PINAR
04/02/2012 04:43:00 Depth 14 km M 1.6 SW EL PINAR
04/02/2012 05:43:38 Depth 13 km M 1.3 W EL PINAR
04/02/2012 06:35:17 Depth 14 km M 1.5 SW EL PINAR
- After had some very strong hydromagmatic bursts in between 1 and 3 at night, harmonic tremor is back to minimum strength

harmonic tremor from midnight until 14:40 UTC - image courtsey IGN

Update 04/02 - 00:07 UTC
- We have been able to see Smoking Lava Stones at 00:04 UTC on the eruption webcam. Here is a screenshot from Julio del Castillo Vivero

Update 03/02 - 23:58 UTC
Joke Volt images of the day.

Update 03/02 - 23:55 UTC
Since 23:00 a faint jacuzzi has started to be seen on the webcam. Joke Volta commented the stain can be seen from La Restinga at this time as thick and strong.
- Harmonic tremor has just had the strongest hydro-magmatic burst for days. Below the image of the the hour and the full day:

Update 03/02 - 21:21 UTC
- Once again, we have the eruption webcam enabled for night viewing. Viewers might see the waves caused by strong winds; El Hierro has weather warnings for strong winds this weekend. These reflections are not SLS. If SLS did come out, they would be a bright spot and would probably more should come out in a close spot. We will check recordings at midnight to see if any appeared.
- Today's time lapse, by Julio del Castillo Vivero, from 07:00 till 20:15, shows how a stronger stain grows on top of yesterday's stain.

- No further earthquakes registered since last update.

Update 03/02 - 15:02 UTC
- A M 2.4 earthquake was recorded at 14:35, depth of 12.9 km SW EL PINAR
- In the last 3 days, there have been 3 earthquakes in the same area with a magnitude of 2.1 or more, as seen on the image bellow and the Google Earth file done by Julio del Castillo Vivero.
- Another 2 earthquakes registered:
03/02/2012 14:13 10 1.2 W EL PINAR
03/02/2012 14:42 14 1.7 W FRONTERA

Update 03/02 - 13:36 UTC
- 2 more earthquakes since our last update:
03/02/2012 09:10 12 1.1 W EL PINAR
03/02/2012 09:14 8 0.8 W FRONTERA
- Harmonic tremor remains very similar through the past 24 hours, with a few strong hydro-magmatic bursts.
- Joke Volta sent a us a photograph showing a strong and big stain continues to be present at La Calmas sea. Click on image for full size.

Update 03/02 - 02:34 UTC
- A M 2.7 earthquake with a depth of 12.6 km at 01:14 UTC has been felt by many people on El Hierro island, including Frontera and La Restinga. The earthquake occurred at a location with high daily seismic activity for the past weeks. Epicenter: 27.7002 -18.0593 W EL PINAR
- Later a 5th Earthquake:
03/02/2012 01:59 23 1.4 W FRONTERA

Update 03/02 - 01:57 UTC
- 3 new earthquakes since midnight, with a possible strong 4th one yet to be registered on IGN as seen on the harmonic tremor graph with reports of people having felt it around the island, including La Restinga.

03/02/2012 00:17 17 1.3 W FRONTERA
03/02/2012 00:45 17 1.1 W FRONTERA
03/02/2012 00:54 15 1.1 NW FRONTERA

Update 02/02 - 23:23 UTC
- Tonight, we are able to see the stain at the eruption webcam! Julio del Castillo Vivero advised the technician from Telefonica / Movistar on how to set-up the webcam for night mode. He kindly focused the camera on the eruption area, turned up the exposure and ISO to allow this. We can see something as there is a faint moonlight. Good news is we will be able to see in better detail next nights as we reach a full moon on tuesday next week.
- Surprisingly, harmonic tremor has remained equal for more than 24 hours, with very little changes. This might be the reason there haven't been any earthquakes recorded in the past hours.

Update 02/02 - 20:20 UTC
- At midday Joke Volta spoke with María José Jurado, a scientist from CSIC. Joke had received news they are going to try some of their new submarine cameras. The visibility was low today for they test, awaiting for a better day to try them. Previous attempts haven't been very successful, reason why they haven't published anything yet.
- No earthquakes recorded since 04:41 am and harmonic tremor remains at the same medium level.

Update 02/02 - 19:14 UTC
- Joke Volta just send us some pictures of the small smoking lava stones. This ones are much smaller than in previous times. The stain has also a strong dark brown colour in the center. Click on the image to see the photograph full size.

Update 02/02 - 18:37 UTC
- Eruption webcam is back online. We can observe what looks like a mixture of jacuzzi and SLS. With less than an hour to observe as sunlight diminishes, tremor remains at same levels.

Update 02/02 - 18:07 UTC
- Smoking Lava Stones has started come out in the past minutes. Julio del Castillo Vivero took a few screenshots. Unfortunately, Movistar's eruption webcam stopped working an hour a go, we hope they will fix this soon.

Update 02/02 - 15:31 UTC
- Satellite image from NASA-MODIS-Terra shows the huge stain almost as an expansion of El Hierro.
- Harmonic tremor is reaming stable since midnight meaning magma is flowing at a constant rate.

Update 02/02 - 13:44 UTC
- Jokes February 2 morning pictures. This series is one of most beautiful she made until now !

Update 02/02 - 13:12 UTC
- ER reader Sissel has recorded the webcam video. Her video shows the huge stain.

Update 02/02 - 06:45 UTC
- 2 earthquakes since our latest update
02/02/2012 04:40 13 0.9 W FRONTERA
02/02/2012 04:41 15 1.1 W FRONTERA
- harmonic tremor all night the same, not very strong but neither at minimum

Update 02/02 - 02:21 UTC
- At the time of this update IGN has listed 1 earthquake since midnight :
02/02/2012 00:36 Depth 12 km M 1.1 W FRONTERA
- Harmonic Tremor is still strong enough to speak from a sustained magma flow. We might have to watch the waves as described by Julio and Joke. If they are increasing the following days with a limited HT (like now) we might go into a new phase as the vent gets closer to the surface. The lava balloons are not specifically linked to a lesser depth of the vent. The same process can occur at depths of several hundred meter.

Update 01/02 - 23:55 UTC
- Joke Volta images of the day.

Update 01/02 - 22:44 UTC
- As a result of a collaborative work between Joke Volta and Julio del Castillo Vivero, here is a high resolution panoramic photograph from La Restinga looking at today's big stain from 170 m. above sea level. Julio gave the idea to Joke, she took many photographs in a row and then Julio created the final image in a composition made of 22 photographs. Click on the preview to see the full size image.

- 5th Earthquake:
01/02/2012 22:22 Depth 10 km M 1.0 SW EL PINAR

Update 01/02 - 20:22 UTC
- With low levels on harmonic tremor, it is common for earthquakes numbers to start rising, as it just happened.
- 4th Earthquake of the day:
01/02/2012 19:04 Depth 13 km M 1.5 SW EL PINAR

Update 01/02 - 19:05 UTC
- Joke is reporting extraordinarily today and has sent us another image of the stain taken a few minutes a go. The blue in the middle of the stain was also seen this morning. Readers can go to the eruption webcam to see this as sunset approaches.

Update 01/02 - 18:17 UTC
- The development of the waves on top of the volcano vent continues. Joke Volta has taken a photograph, click on the image to enlarge, and Julio del Castillo Vivero quickly did a mixed Time Lapse between 16:55 and 17:34. It looks like a jacuzzi episode we have seen in previous occasions.

Update 01/02 - 17:24 UTC
- Hardly any SLS have been seen coming out in the past hours, as harmonic tremor decreased significantly, continuing with more hydro-magmatic bursts.
- It is very windy in La Restinga and this is creating many waves at the sea. Although, AVCAN just commented on the possibility of these waves been formed by the volcano.
- Joke took a photograph of the sea at 15:04 UTC showing a beautiful change of colours. She also told us she can see the stain from El Pinar.

Update 01/02 - 14:34 UTC
- Harmonic tremor keeps at a medium level, with intermittent hydro-magmatic explosions.
- No further earthquakes recorded.
- Julio del Castillo Vivero has created an animated GIF to show the evolution of the stain from 08:30 until 12:30 using the eruption webcam images.
- On her morning walk, Joke Volta visited the CAP. She took photographs of all the seismic stations, then spoke with a friend that confirmed what we saw; SLS coming out. According to a member of the team, many SLS should be coming out in the next hours. Reason is when the stain turns into a strong brown colour is normally accompanied by many SLS. We have seen a few this morning, nothing like what we saw yesterday with hundreds of them.
- Satellite image from NASA-MODIS-AQUA shows the stain even more concentrated that yesterday.

Update 01/02 - 13:09 UTC
- Joke Volta sent us this photograph of the stain, taken this morning. Click on the image to see it full size.

Update 01/02 - 11:20 UTC
- The stain has a very strong and well defined area from ash emissions and gas release. In the middle, a strong brownish colour. The stain is slowly moving towards La Restinga.

Update 01/02 - 10:12 UTC
- 1 more earthquake, stronger than any of the previous 43 earthquakes.
01/02/2012 06:51 Depth 14 km M 2.1 SW EL PINAR
- HT shows some hydro-magmatic bursts.
- Smoking lava stones are still coming out with an activity much subtle than yesterday.

Update 01/02 - 08:05 UTC
- HT is picking up again and at dawn, SLS can be seen on the vent

Update 01/02 - 07:30 UTC
- 2 earthquakes since midnight
01/02/2012 01:29 Depth 14 km M 0.8 W FRONTERA
01/02/2012 01:48 Depth 10 km M 0.6 SW FRONTERA
- harmonic tremor to minimal value.

First of all my sincere congratulations to Julio del Castillo Vivero who is updating this article when i am traveling (with a 7 hour time difference !). Julio is not only a great time lapser (see the video with his flashing lava balloons today) and photographer, but has been following the El Hierro events since a couple of months now + of course Joke, thanks to her activities, all the readers of this article are almost present on El Hierro - Armand

Update 31/01 - 23:58 UTC
- Joke Voltas images of the day + some more pictures from the visit of the Princess and the Prince

Update 31/01 - 23:56 UTC
The 4th Involcan video zooming into the details of the Smoking Lava Balloons. Impressive footage, not without risk for the Guardia Civil / Involcan people.

Update 31/01 - 23:55 UTC
- Another 4 earthquakes since our last update.
31/01/2012 22:07 Depth 14 km M 0.7 W EL PINAR
31/01/2012 22:13 Depth 12 km M 1.1 SW FRONTERA
31/01/2012 22:54 Depth 13 km M 1.2 SW FRONTERA
31/01/2012 23:04 Depth 14 km M 1.3 SW EL PINAR
- There have been a total of 14 earthquakes today.
Julio del Castillo Vivero has created a Google Earth file including all of today's earthquakes with their magnitude.

Earthquakes January 31 by Julio del Castillo Vivero

Update 31/01 - 22:48 UTC
- INVOLCAN has made a third video, extraordinary work, with even more close-ups to the SLS flying at a very low altitude.

- One more earthquake since our last update: At 21:22 M 0.7 Depth of 14 km SW FRONTERA

Update 31/01 - 22:06 UTC
- A second video from INVOLCAN. This ones shows better close-ups of the smoking lava stones.

Update 31/01 - 20:34 UTC
- A new earthquake registered at 19:40 M 1.3 and depth of 12 km SW FRONTERA. A total of 9 earthquakes since midnight.
- Harmonic tremor is registering low levels since a decrease began at 15:00 UTC.

Update 31/01 - 17:56 UTC
- INVOLCAN has just published the photographs taken by the Guardia Civil helicopter this morning. Images are astonishing, showing hundreds of SLS floating on the water. The colour of the stain above the vent is a strong concentrated brown. Looking out, it changes to green and then blue. As Joke told us this morning, and captured in her photographs which will be online later today, the team was very brave flying in such conditions. SLS can jump high out of the water, posing a risk for low altitude flying.
- Here is the video of today's flight by INVOLCAN.
- Satellite image taken at 14:55 UTC by NASA MODIS-TERRA also shows a concentrated spot in front of La Restinga.

Update 31/01 - 17:39 UTC
- Interesting information coming from today's IGN daily report [in Spanish] referring to yesterday afternoon A/S " SASEMAR 103" mission flight. In a very active, small and concentrated area the temperature recorded was of 26.4ºC in contrast to the 18.3ºC measured in near clean open water. A difference of 8.1ºC!

Update 31/01 - 16:49 UTC
- A special video from Julio del Castillo Vivero showing in real time Smoking Lava Stones jumping out of the water in flames. This confirms what ER reader New told us this morning. After, a fast time lapse of this morning activity with the helicopter flying very close to the surface, minute 02:36, as many SLS come out.

- Harmonic Tremor has decreased significantly since 14:00 UTC as the number of SLS has also decreased.
- No further earthquakes have been recorded since our last update.

Update 31/01 - 13:40 UTC

- ER reader Sissel has recorded a video from the webcams this morning. She wrote : The Guardia Civil helicopter inspected the stain - bet we will get some good pictures and / or video's tomorrow! At about 0:45 a restingolita is steaming for about 30 seconds. It drawed the helicopter's attention, too

Update 31/01 - 13:14 UTC

- 3 new earthquakes since our latest update. The 06:04 earthquake was by far the shallowest in a long time. Not the expect a new eruption vent shortly, but also the epicenter is totally different from before, namely to the South East of La Restinga ! If new shallow earthquakes might occur again there, we could end with a new situation.
31/01/2012 06:01 Depth 12 km M 0.9 SW FRONTERA
31/01/2012 06:04 Depth 7 km M 0.7 S EL PINAR
31/01/2012 06:09 M 0.5 SW EL PINAR
- Harmonic tremor grew to a higher level after 06:00 and is still higher at the moment compared to early in the night. Additionally we have a lot of hydromagmatic bursts today. Again a new situation. This volcano continues to surprise us.
- ER reader New has seen some ignited gas lava balloon flashes yesterday evening and early this morning (yesterday in between 21:30 and 21:45 UTC and today at approx. 07:25 UTC).

Update 31/01 - 07:00 UTC
- 5 earthquakes since midnight UTC. The 04:16 earthquake occurred very close to the main vent.
31/01/2012 02:53 Depth 12 km M 0.7 SW FRONTERA
31/01/2012 04:04 Depth 12 km M 1.6 W EL PINAR
31/01/2012 04:16 Depth 17 km M 1.1 SW EL PINAR
31/01/2012 04:58 Depth 12 km M 0.4 W FRONTERA
31/01/2012 05:30 Depth 16 km M 1.1 NW FRONTERA
- Harmonic tremor survives but only at minimal levels

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.