El Hierro Volcano eruption (Canary Islands) : Part 34 – March 1 until March 10

This is Part 34 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) – (05/02 – 10/02) – (11/02 – 16/02) – (17/02 – 23/02) – Part 33 (24/02 –29/02) – Part 34 (1/03 – 10/03) – Part 35 (11/03 – 18/03)
Useful links : @VolcanoReport - El Hierro Picasa Photo Album
Our Webcam pages : 3 in 1 pageLas Calmas UstreamLa Restinga villageEruption webcam

Update 10/03 – 23:10 UTC
- The Atlantic Explorer vessel is currently navigating to El Hierro for a new campaign. In the team, members from the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and SOS Océanos. Lets hope this time the conditions will be good enough for deploying the ROV.

Update 10/03 - 21:45 UTC
- The following video shows the activity at 'El Mar de Las Calmas' from 18:55 to 19:55 UTC x10 normal speed, by Julio del Castillo Vivero.

- AVCAN (Actualidad Volcánica de Canarias) believe the eruption was not over and continues.
- Joke Volta has spoken with Ramón Ortiz and here we have translate his words for what he believes could be happening:

" What can be observed now we saw 2 weeks ago. I have looked at the seismic network, and there has been no variation, no anomalies. When there is an eruptive activity this is reflected in the seismic network. What could be happening is that as magma is still hot, it takes time to cool down, this material is still releasing heat and vapor, and there is still gas release. That is why there is still an exclusion zone around the volcano. Tides can affect the process that we see. As the tide changes, the pressure does too and this can alter what is happening. The effect of the tides we have observed it two weeks ago when there was a decrease in activity. The visibility of the volcano changes and this is also due to the tides.

- What we are sure of is there has been no official communication about what is happening.

Update 10/03 - 19:40 UTC
- Joke Volta is going to try and ask the geographer José Manuel Merrero, student of Ramón Ortiz, about what we saw earlier, in case they could have an answer for this phenomenon.

Update 10/03 - 19:40 UTC
- Images Joke Volta of today March 10

Update 10/03 - 17:55 UTC
- We have checked and and it WAS NOT a jacuzzi
. Joke Volta has confirmed this to ER.

Update 10/03 - 17:25 UTC
- What looks like a waves breaking at the eruption webcam has been observed in the past minutes, but it is probably the effect of the wind and/or currents.

Update 10/03 - 16:00 UTC
- 1 earthquake more since last update of M 2.1, strongest one since 1st March SW El Pinar. The seismic process is still active.

Update 10/03 - 07:07 UTC
- 1 earthquake so far today. Magnitude 0.8, Depth : 8.4 km
- The authorities of El Hierro are studying at this moment to make El Hierro as the first ENTIRELY FREE WIFI island in the world (this is at least what they claim it to be). If this happens Joke will jump a hole into the El Hierro sky!

Update 09/03 - 21:10 UTC
- There have been an additional 2 earthquakes, both W El Pinar, of M 1.1 and a depth between 11km. and 13km.
- Harmonic tremor is minimal, almost none.

Update 09/03 - 15:45 UTC
- The exclusion zone for fishing, scuba diving and other activities has been reduced to a 0.5 nautical mile circle from the volcano. More information in the press release (in Spanish). Below, a map showing the exclusion zone done by Julio del Castillo Vivero.

Update 09/03 - 14:00 UTC
- Only 1 earthquake since midnight, M 0.8 W El Pinar.
- Today, the island is covered in "calima" as can be clearly seen on the webcam time lapses, on the satellite picture from Nasa and on Joke Volta's images, on picasa gallery later today. Click on image to enlarge.

Calima at La Restinga, El Hierro 9th March 2012 - Joke Volta

Update 09/03 - 13:00 UTC
- Joke Volta images of the day - Calima pictures

Update 08/03 - 23:35 UTC
- A total of 3 earthquakes were listed by IGN today. M 1.7, M 1.4 and M 1.0. The M 1.4 had an epicenter in the north of the island at a depth of 26 km. The last 1.0 earthquake occurred at a depth of 7 km.
- Images Joke Volta from today March 8

Update 08/03 - 18:51 UTC
IEO the Spanish Oceanographic institute has released the results of the 11th bathymetry session (BIMBACHE1011‐11) . The cone depth was revealed already in the beginning of the week (88 meter depth). Click here for the full report (in Spanish).


Ramon Margalef bathymetry session (BIMBACHE1011‐11) - image courtesy IEO


Ramon Margalef bathymetry session (BIMBACHE1011‐11) - image courtesy IEO


Ramon Margalef bathymetry session (BIMBACHE1011‐11) - image courtesy IEO

Update 08/03 - 09:49 UTC
- The active process has not ended completely as the magma is still generating small earthquakes.
- Today a M 1.7 earthquake occurred at 06:25 at a depth of 12 km in the normal Tacoron / Las Calmas sea area.
- after the incredible works she has done the last couple of months, Joke has winded down the number of photo sessions per day from 2 to 1, exceptionally there will be no session due to other tasks. Joke insists on continuing this because she does want to be the eyes of the island by making pictures which can be useful for whatever reason (yes, also for science, although they will not admit it easily that they are looking to her pictures). Instruments maybe great, but visual detection of whatever change in the sea is also very important.
- there is still continuing microseismicity below the island (microseismicity is typical for an eruption process but is hard to list seismologically as the exact epicenter and depth are hard to locate due to a too weak quake)

Update 07/03 - 23:35 UTC
- a third M 1.8 earthquake occurred at 17:58 at a depth of 13 km
- wind gusts up to 70 km/h are expected tomorrow
- Joke has left her temporary apartment in La Restinga for her "cooler" house in El Pinar
- many people at El Hierro are not believing that the volcano stopped his action completely

Update 07/03 - 10:45 UTC
- of course no substantial harmonic tremor
- for the second day in a row very rough seas
- 2 earthquakes so far today
07/03/2012 02:51 7 km M 1.5 SW EL PINAR
07/03/2012 06:12 37 km M 1.9 W FRONTERA
- ITER / INVOLCAN has made an appeal for volunteers to work on volcano vigilance that Involcan is doing in El Hierro. Cost of accommodation and food will be covered. Those interested should email gladys@iter.es

Update 06/03 - 15:25 UTC
- The red alert in the volcanic area of El Mar de las Calmas has been lowered to Yellow Alert, pre-emergency phase. The rest of the island will continue in yellow alert.
- The exclusion of areas of Arenas Blancas, Tacorón and Playa de Los Mozos will be also relaxed once a new document is released, soon, with the details of a smaller exclusion area. For now, the 4 mile maritime exclusion will remain.
- Recommendations for not swimming, fishing and scuba-diving will remain in place until new samples from the water in the area are analysed by the public health service, which could mean also these measures to be relaxed.
- All this information, in Spanish, from the press release here.

Update 06/03 - 14:40 UTC
- Images Joke Volta from today March 6, 2012
Check the last image from this series. The Ocean colors grey, like we have seen before. If we follow the scientists nothing might happen any more as the eruption stopped. A viable reason could be that the lighter pumice is thrown up bu the strong current to color the sea.

Update 06/03 - 14:00 UTC
- The Salvamar Adhara, after all a small ship, had to struggle against the fierce waves to accomplish his tasks.
- A new earthquake occurred to the south of La Restinga. Magnitude 1.4, depth 11 km.

Salvamar Adhare fighting against the waves. Dangerous for operations on deck

Update 06/03 - 08:15 UTC
- 1 mini-mini earthquake
- Joke, Julio and ER will of course continue to follow up the (currently) ended eruption process. As long as we have the webcams pointed to the emission point in the Las Calmas sea, our readers and our team will continue looking at eventual signs of rebirth. Especially earthquakes have to be followed. Without pressure from below there will be no harmonic tremor or re-activation of the eruption.
- Authorities have decided to continue with the bathymetry plan as it was scheduled while the eruption was still going on. The Salvamar Adhara will start bathymetry today
- Pevolca has also decided to continue monitoring the island of El Hierro until the situation is reached as prior to July 17 2011 (earthquakes and deformation). Vertical deformation parameters are kept secret by IGN. Horizontal deformations can be followed in the IGN website.
- Alert levels remain unchanged (for now)

Update 06/03 - 01:25 UTC
- Today, Salvamar Adhara will do a bathymetry of the volcano.
- 1 Earthquake M 0.1 very small, since midnight.
- As IGN and the Government of the Canary Islands pointed out yesterday, the eruption at El Mar de las Calmas has been declared to have finished. This is not the case for the seismic process, meaning some values are still abnormal and until they return to the similar figures before July 2011 the vigilance will remain.

Update 05/03 - 15:00 UTC
- The depth of the volcano is at 88 meters, measured by Ramón Margalef.
- A scientific committee is claiming the eruption has ended today! In the coming hours PEVOLCA will decide what safety measures will be changed and which ones should remain in place. This could mean a green light for El Hierro, and a likely yellow alert for the volcanic area.

Update 05/03 - 13:00 UTC
- Images from Joke Volta photographed today

Update 05/03 - 10:00 UTC
- 1 earthquake so far today
- same harmonic tremor than the preceding days
- ER reader Roland has detected a video from the German News Agency "Deutsche Welle". Although most of our readers will not find any new elements in the (German spoken) video, we do find the video well made and one of the first taking his time to give a good overview of the situation. The reporter was one of the only ones so far being able to join the Guardia Civil / Involcan helicopter. Mr. Perez, volcanologist from Involcan / Iter is talking in the video of an eruption which occurred at El Hierro in the 18th century and lasted 2 years !

Update 04/03 - 23:50 UTC
- No further earthquakes, just 1 earthquake recorded today, still, some seismic activity can be seen along minor harmonic tremor.
- Looking at the bathymetry calendar, starting tomorrow, 'Salvamento Marítimo' will begging measuring the volcano's depth until the 11th March. There has been no information from the last Ramón Margalef's session, an update is expected anytime this week.
- Although it is hard to confirm, eruption webcam remains offline, we saw what appeared to be a faint jacuzzi in the evening.
- Panoramic webcam has became its substitute, zooming in La Restinga port entrance. Should SLS come out to the surface it would be possible to see them as bright spot, lasting for around a second, although, its been many days since we last saw them.


Update 04/03 - 19:58 UTC
- Still only 1 earthquake today, an almost standstill of the action and only minor HT
- Joke Volta's images of the day

Update 04/03 - 13:35 UTC
- The eruption webcam image is probably blocked in the public domain by a transmission error (the problem was reported), but the webcam operators can still see the image. The following action was captured 12 minutes ago.

Seagulls along the Southern El Hierro coast

Update 04/03 - 13:30 UTC
- Spring time at El Hierro by Joke Volta

Update 04/03 - 08:52 UTC
ETNA is currently erupting. Click here for the link to the ETNA webcam. Many thanks to ER readers New and Nataly to brief us about this new paroxysm (eruption).

Update 04/03 - 08:50 UTC
- Only 1 M 0.8 earthquake so far today
- Continuing minor HT

Update 03/03 - 23:55 UTC
- Finally we had 7 earthquakes today and all of them where above M 1.1
- Tonight was carnival evening in La Restinga. Joke joined the festivities
- HT stable all day long
- Webcam has been changed to his sensitive settings

Update 03/03 - 16:03 UTC
- Images Joke Volta from this morning March 3

Update 03/03 - 14:26 UTC
- Joke was irritated this morning seeing tourists eating their own food on a terrace of a local pub. Bar and shopkeepers have a hard time in surviving as tourism hasn't picked up enough to make a normal living. She thinks that tourists must show their solidarity with local business people.
- Joke also talked to a person in charge of forestry at the island about the stain colors who can be seen at times on unusual places. This man also was talking about algae growth in relation with currents and changed currents because of the new cone, but at the end we have to admit that nobody knows exactly what is happening

Update 03/03 - 14:00 UTC
- ER reader Sissel who is recording a lot of the webcam had some footage this morning about the Spanish Navy ship patrolling the coast. The best view of the ship can be seen at 4min15 after the start.

Update 03/03 - 12:04 UTC
- No more new earthquakes since our last update
- A rough sea is making it difficult to sea eventual faint jacuzzi's
- The day before yesterday (March 1) was the last day of the INVOLCAN course held in La Restinga to explain the volcanic activity to the local people. The images below (click on the to see all of them in full size - much more than those thumbnails below) have been photographed by Joke Volta who was very enthusiastic about the course. We can warmly advise our readers to take a look at the Involcan slides. They speak for themselves.

Update 03/03 - 09:30 UTC
- 4 earthquakes since midnight, all above M 1.2. All except 1 at a depth of 11 km
- still very low HT

Update 02/03 - 23:42 UTC
- 4 more earthquakes , which bring the total to 5 today. Magnitudes were higher in average than during preceeding days : 1.8, 1.3, 1.9, 1.5, 2.0 and 1.2
- At least 2 faint jacuzzi's today
- A further slight increase in HT (thank you ER reader Volcanomen). Wind is sometimes a disturbing element, but not in this case. Wind goes mostly down after sunset and the sea was rather calm tonight although HT still grows bit by bit. It cannot be excluded that HT suddenly inflates again. Lets keep our eyes open the following hours as any increase in activity may be well seen at the surface waters.
- The webcam has been set to very sensitive vision tonight. If a jacuzzi would form it will be easy to see it on the present settings.
- The webcam operator has been focusing on the sunset tonight ? The webcam turned into a romantic observer !

Sunset footage from the Movistar webcam operator

Update 02/03 - 10:42 UTC
- As we have almost no activity to show from the Las Calmas sea, Joke took a number of beautiful pictures when she went with the bus from La Restinga to El Pinar. Sunrise with Tenerife's Teide volcano in the distance for example.

Update 02/03 - 10:42 UTC
- 2 earthquakes so far today
- we have the impression that the HT has a slight increase today

Update 01/03 - 23:00 UTC
- Joke was very active this afternoon and saw again a stain at the eastern side of the island (just like yesterday). Click on the images to see the full afternoon series. Joke was fascinated by the colors and asked here and there what it possibly could be as there is no reason to believe that it comes from a vent at that side of the island.
This is the text she send us :

Possible reason for observing stain-spots along the eastern coast of El Hierro
The day before yesterday I went to the CAP science center in La Restinga to tell about this observance, because I saw the same phenomenon a few days ago…They did not know the answer, so after observing it again today, I decided to ask a fisherman of Restinga, to find out if he had any explanation for these
different colors on the sea-surface…
He told me, that he also noticed the different colors, and different blue spots today, but his opinion is, that it is well possible that it is seaweed mixed up with volcanic material.
Now it’s the sea-weed-season, he told me, and the soil in the Calmas Sea is full of volcanic material, which can be attractive for every kind of sea-life.
A lot of people, just like this fisherman, believe that the material which came out of the vents is an enormous fertilizer.
He likes to believe in a post-eruptive part, entering a period of recuperation of all sea-life. It is well known, that the volcanic soil is very fertile, and attractive not only for human existence…
But I ask myself, if this actually fresh fertilizer is yet ready to do this function. (Other kind of natural fertilizer always needs some time until it can be used. And…if you use it too quickly, it even has a destructive effect…just like chicken-fertilizer needs time to get rid of all the acid-parts…). The blue color is also seen in the La Restinga vent spots when degassing takes place.
So, I don’t know, if these ashes and volcanic material will feed already marine-life…
The fisherman also told me, that during these days the sea has so called “ground-sea”, which means, that lower–level sea- currents could remove the surface and deposit of volcanic material on the of the ocean-floor, which attract sea-life, as seaweed also is…
The vision of the fisherman is also, that this fertilizer, combined with sea-weeds can change the colors of the sea. The currents glue this substance together, and bring it over to other parts of the Hierro-coast area…

Mystery armada ship

Update 01/03 - 22:37 UTC
- 4 more earthquakes brings the total to 8 today. The last 4 earthquakes had magnitudes measuring 2.1, 1.9, 2.0 and 1.4. Focal depth in between 11 and 18 km.
- A ship from the Spanish Armada (Army) has been cruising along the coast of La Restinga this afternoon and tonight. Julio del Castillo Vivero did timelapsed his movement and it was not clear what he exactly was doing. We know that the Spanish Armada ships will take part in the bathymetry sessions, but they are only scheduled at the end of March. Following Julio's reports he was making 8 circles in 1 hour ?!? So, for now, it will remain a little mystery why the ship is there.

Update 01/03 - 18:42 UTC
- What looks like a small faint jacuzzi can be observed on the ACN Press webcam while tremor levels remain very low and no further earthquakes recorded.

Update 01/03 - 15:49 UTC
- NO new earthquakes
- NO change in HT
- ITER is currently installing more instruments at the Tacoron area. Currently someone has to go to Tacoron to do a number of manual measurements. The new instruments will send data in real-time to the analysts. Once this has been tested, people will be allowed to enter this sector of the island.
- Joke Volta March 1 morning images

Update 01/03 - 09:12 UTC
- A short revival of harmonic tremor for a couple of minutes at 01:16. It has not repeated since then.
- The eruption webcam is frozen again for the second day in a row. Hopefully the disturbance is not due to a serious problem.
- 4 earthquakes since midnight varying from M 0.6 to M 1.3, depths from 10 to 16 km. Epicenters on the usual line from Frontera to the main vent.
- Today is the last day of the INVOLCAN course Joke is following. She is very positive about this initiative. Compared to the Geology course given by Ramon Casillas from the University of La Laguna who was focusing more to the specific technical details of volcanoes and tectonics, the Involcan course is zooming in on the many dangers for property and population. Joke was surprised that Lahars, toxic gases, lava flows, landslides, explosions etc has caused many casualties in the past. The El Hierro eruption goes on and on and looks like a peaceful event (what it surely is at this time), but in other places of the world volcanoes can cause a lot of misery. The pictures below have been taken during the Involcan course.
- Poets from everywhere in the world showed their solidarity with the people of El Hierro during a poetry event yesterday at La Restinga (pictures of this event : click here)

Involcan course about volcano risks at El Pinar


Links to earlier parts of this extensive El Hierro eruption report :
(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) - (05/02 - 10/02) – Part 31 (11/02 – 16/02) – Part 32 (17/02 – 23/02)

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.