El Hierro Volcano eruption (Canary Islands) : Part 37 – March 24 until March 28

This is Part 37 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) – (24/02 –29/02) – (1/03 – 10/03) – (11/03 – 18/03) - Part 36 (19/03 - 23/03) - Part 37 (24/03 - 28/03)
Useful links : @VolcanoReport - El Hierro Picasa Photo Album
Our Webcam pages : (3) 2 in 1 pageLa Restinga villageEruption webcam

Appeal for a donation : Joke Volta and Earthquake-report.com are putting all their efforts in following up the ongoing activity at El Hierro. The last couple of days we have a couple of donations by our readers and we truly thank them for their support. Joke never asks for something, but @ earthquake-report.com we are aware of the costs she is paying herself to do all this work are considerable. Taking the bus, sending pictures in a bar where they have WIFI, sending us text messages, etc, all this is cash out !. Also earthquake-report.com ran into higher server costs. To make a long story short, we would love to have your support once again. Donations will be split 60/40 in between Joke Volta and ER. Donations via credit card and Paypal can be send via this link. You can also send some money to the ER bank account : IBAN BE52731013166309 EUR - BIC KREDBEBB for SOS Earthquakes VZW, Cederstraat 21, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium. Thank you for your support on behalf of Joke and ourselves.

Update 28/03 - 21:10 UTC
- 2 earthquakes tonight.
19:05 Depth 18 km M 1.7 SW EL PINAR
19:24 Depth 29 km M 1.9 W FRONTERA
- ER Reader Rudy wrote us a couple of minutes ago : I just read that until now the amount of help by the government of the Canary Islands totals 700.000€. Today a vote of the Autonomous Parliament rejected a further help package of 3 million€ (diario el Hierro 28/3) ER : people at El Hierro will feel this as a real insult after 7 months of economic misery.
- Joke enjoyed tonight a great sunset and a jacuzzi (accompanied by a number of seagulls) ! She packed all the images in a short powerpoint video.

Update 28/03 - 18:05 UTC
- Joke Volta's second load of pictures for today. When somebody told her that a stain appeared in the Las Calmas sea, she took her cameras and headed for montaña Naos, a good viewing point. Joke pointed out that the stain this afternoon was very big compared to the recent activity (last couple of weeks).

Update 28/03 - 14:38 UTC
- Joke reports a visible stain this afternoon (just like yesterday). The stain is formed by eruptive material. Degassing only is not able to create a stain ! In other words : the volcano is still erupting low quantities of lava. The current stains are probably the reason why we have no more earthquakes since a couple of days (stains were discovered since a couple of days now - the last listed earthquake happened on March 26 at 07:05 UTC (these remarks are non-scientific of course, although the data is). We would love to print science analysis here, but as nobody comments, we have to report on the relations we see ourselves.
Update : Diario El Hierro has also seen the stain and interviewed IGN about it. IGN answer : Técnicos del IGN explican que esta coloración es debida al proceso de desgasificación en el sistema volcánico, que se puede prolongar, probablemente, en el tiempo. (Technicians from IGN explained that the coloring was because of the degassing in the volcano system, which can eventually last some longer time).
Comment ER : we have seen the last couple of weeks more jacuzzi's than the present one and these jacuzzis never gave a stain as a result.

Update 28/03 - 10:24 UTC
- Unfortunately for all of us, no news yet from the Cabildo on our (webcam) proposal (we may mention that also another letter we send (very polite and positive) was never replied to).
- The "island of thousand volcanoes" is putting the only active volcano since tens of years in the "lets pretend nothing is going on" basket.
- Joke Volta will be our human webcam for a while again ! Thanks to Joke we have still El Hierro eyes (she has to write a book about her experiences when it is over)
- Joke has been examining if the jacuzzi's have some link with the tides. During many days she looked into the tide tables and she has concluded that there is NO immediate link in between the jacuzzi and the tide. The tide difference is only a couple of meters of course, but trying to find a relation between what is visible and the natural elements is very valuable.
- Today we had no earthquakes yet, but microseismicity is still present as well as a jacuzzi now and then. Joke's images below are the proof towards the people who are saying "it is all over" (actually the Cabildo is not saying this - they said the activity was not strong enough to legitimate the hight cost of webcam operations)

Update 28/03 - 10:24 UTC
- Reader Rudy commented to include the "unanimous" petition directed at the local authorities to change the Yellow Alert into Green Alert. The initiative for this petition comes from a broad political alliance of islanders.

Las distintas fuerzas políticas con representación en el Cabildo de El Hierro han aprobado por una unanimidad una Moción presentada por el Grupo de Gobierno formado por PSOE y PP por la que se solicitará al Gobierno de Canarias la declaración de semáforo volcánico verde para todo El Hierro, “medida que contribuiría a la normalización interna y recuperación de su imagen exterior, entendiendo esta decisión desde la base de reactivación económica en estos momentos tan difíciles”, según se recoge en la moción. (www.CanarisaAhora.es, extension El Hierro)

Google translation
The different political forces represented in the council of El Hierro have unanimously approved a motion presented by the Governance Group formed by the PSOE and the PP for which requests the Government of Canary's statement volcanic green light for all El Hierro, "as we contribute to the normalization and recovery of its image abroad, understanding this decision from the base of economic recovery in these difficult times", as stated in the motion.

Comment ER : We can support this petition to change everything into green. It is the logical Next step towards normalization. As all political parties seems to believe that the volcano is dead and buried, changing the alert from Yellow to Green means allowing ships, divers, tourist excursions on top of the volcano. It would even attract more tourists to the island.

Update 27/03 - 23:43 UTC
- Coincidence or not, but Mr. Alpidio Armas, the president of the Cabildo, will fly to Gran Canaria tomorrow to start a campaign to reactivate tourism at El Hierro (products and services). We hope the island marketing will be successful.

Update 27/03 - 18:21 UTC
- Joke has reported a jacuzzi and (faint) stain this afternoon. The faint stain can be seen on the last series of images in our picasaweb. The images below have been taken in between 14:00 and 15:00

Update 27/03 -16:16 UTC - Open letter to the Cabildo El Hierro

Dear Mr. Alpidio Armas, Mr. President,

The informative note of the Cabildo formalizing the intended closure of the webcams has not been received well by the thousands of daily readers at AVCAN, the many other Spanish websites and at Earthquake-Report.com (see below).
The main reason for closing down the webcams is "Financial", has been said! This was advised by the technological partner of the venture ! Who ? Telefonica or the company who delivered the webcams or both ! Be more precise please, because this is a flagrant omission of the truth.
We were very surprised that instead of putting up 1 or max. 2 webcams, the venture immediately installed 4 webcams (2 at La Restinga, 1 at El Golfo and 1 at the Los Roquillos tunnel). The last 2 had NOTHING to do with the eruption as there was only one vent open at the time.
Cabildo : We hope that both technological companies have not charged you any money as this would be over the edge (see their cost further on) ! The cost of installing them and cleaning the lenses now and then could eventually be acceptable, but we hope that this was not the case.
Telefonica / Movistar : a MILTI-BILLION Spanish company not wanting to invest a couple of euros into their national natural beauty. The operational cost is almost NIHIL as the webcam is operated via the internet ! Bandwidth can be considered FREE at Telefonica. Their Advertisement was watched 1.565.847 times, not bad, as even a Google advertisement would have cost an exponential sum to achieve the same publicity.
Webcam partner : The webcams have a list price of max. 2.000 Euro's each. All 4 of them has been an investment of less than 8000 Euro's. The company who have delivered the webcams is a major technological company not alone in Spain but worldwide (sorry i have forgotten the name). Their Advertisement was watched 1.565.847 times, not bad, as even a Google advertisement would have cost an exponential sum to achieve the same publicity

Let us give some alternatives (as we want to look at this from the positive side) :
Earthquake-Report.com and hopefully followers like AVCAN (they are hurt too - check their comments Facebook page) and some commercial partners are willing to pay 50 % of the eruption webcam (it is used material now 🙂 ). We will stream the signal towards the U-stream service (which was also used by the El Pinar /ACN Press webcam of the ULPGC and does cost ONLY a limited amount per month). We will find a good hearted person at El Hierro to clean the lenses. Thats it, nothing more or less !

To be honest, we were delighted when Telefonica and the Cabildo have started a truly good and professional service to give us a view on the emission spot. Now, we have a hard time in accepting a logic which almost nobody of our daily readers understand.
So, once again, when the problem is financial, our proposal stands, or is there a hidden agenda behind the decision ?
We still hope that you will reactivate the webcam and start re-broadcast of the "eruption webcam" signal (we only need the Eruption webcam, nothing else, narrowing the cost even further).
A new island would be a gift of God and will attract tourism like never before. Let us be ready if the volcano reactivates suddenly. The cone is currently at such a depth (88 meter) that a paroxysm will lead to a Surtseyan eruption within hours. The proposed re-activation in your Informative Note will come almost certainly too late if HT suddenly restarts.

kind regards,

Armand Vervaeck, Founder SOS Earthquakes non-profit organization / Earthquake-Report.com
PS : Our El Hierro pages have been consulted by 1.400.000 individual readers nearly 4 million times ! (statistics can be given to the Cabildo on simple request).
PS2 : We are of course not alone being disillusioned about what is happening. The following blogger has the same meaning as we have. He has a webcam operational via U-Stream. This is what he wrote as a title : EXELENTISIMO CABILDO DE EL HIERRO, ESTO ES LO QUE CUESTA INSTALAR UNA WEBCAM, NOS HA COSTADO 10 MINUTOS Y "0" DE COSTE. translated : Dear Cabildo de El Hierro, this is what it takes to install the webcam on this page : not even 10 minutes and 0 cost !

Official Press report from the Cabildo of El Hierro concerning the shutting down of the webcams

Update 27/03 -16:06 UTC

Cabildo de El Hierro y Movistar deciden suspender temporalmente el servicio webcam que permitía seguir en directo el proceso eruptivo

Cabildo de El Hierro y Movistar han decidido suspender temporalmente el servicio en Internet hierroendirecto.movistar.es, desde el que se ha podido seguir en directo en todo el Mundo el proceso eruptivo en El Hierro gracias a la instalación de cuatro webcam.
La baja actividad del proceso y el coste que supone el servicio para la compañía que ha sido el colaborador tecnológico del Cabildo herreño en esta iniciativa aconseja esta medida, aunque ambos no descartas retomar el servicio en el supuesto de reactivarse el proceso, debido al éxito alcanzado.
El site hierroendirecto.movistar.es se puso en funcionamiento el 10 de noviembre de 2011. El pasado 23 de marzo, las estadísticas Google Analytics implementadas en el servicio reflejaban que ha recibido 1.370.255 visitas en este tiempo, con 333.423 visitantes exclusivos, 1.565.847 páginas vistas y con acceso desde los 5 continentes, 147 países y 6.928 ciudades en todo el mundo, lo que
refleja la gran expansión e interés mundial que ha despertado el acontecimiento.
España, Alemania, Francia. Reino Unido y Estados Unidos encabezan el listado de los países desde los que se ha seguido el proceso eruptivo. Un site visitado por usuarios con 115 idiomas diferentes. Mientras que el 71,59% de los visitantes han sido recurrentes.
El presidente del Cabildo, Alpidio Armas, ha querido reiterar el agradecimiento que la Institución mantiene con la empresa de telecomunicaciones ante “la colaboración sin coste económico que ha hecho Telefónica Movistar para poner en marcha, de forma eficiente y veloz esta iniciativa que tan buenos resultados ha arrojado”.

Google translation (we are sorry Google cannot translate better):
Cabildo de El Hierro and Movistar have decided to temporarily suspend service on the Internet hierroendirecto.movistar.es, from which it has been followed the eruption in El Hierro live around the world by installing four webcams.
The low activity of the process and the cost of the service to the company that has been the technology partner of the City Council in this initiative herreño advised this measure, although both do not discard return to duty in the event reactivated the process, due to success.
The site became operational hierroendirecto.movistar.es the November 10, 2011. On 23 March, Google Analytics statistics implemented in the service reflected that it has received 1,370,255 visits at this time, with 333,423 unique visitors, 1,565,847 page views and with access from the 5 continents, 147 countries and 6,928 cities worldwide, it
reflects the great expansion and global concern that has attracted the event.
Spain, Germany, France. United Kingdom and the United States topped the list of countries from which has followed the eruption. A site visited by users with 115 languages. While 71.59% of visitors have been recurrent.
The president of the Cabildo, Alpidio Arms, wanted to reiterate the thanks that the institution has with the telecommunications company to "collaboration without economic cost Telefonica Movistar has to implement in an efficient and fast this initiative so successful has produced. "

Update 27/03 -16:01 UTC
- Joke Volta's images of the volcano wit a very visible Jacuzzi.

Update 27/03 -08:46 UTC
- We were delighted that the webcam signals were still present this morning at the "elhierroendirecto" website, but now he screens are all turning black !
- NO earthquakes since midnight
- very minimal microseismicity

Update 26/03 -16:21 UTC
- Joke just returned from a conversation with the mayor of El Pinar. The mayor said that the Cabildo still has his web package (including webcams) operational at www.elhierroendirecto.com.
He has NOT said that the broadcast will stop immediately. So, what we assume now is that Telefonica has stopped his servers and that the Cabildo will continue to capture the signal and broadcast it via the above website. Of course this would be perfect, but so far nobody has confirmed this (the Mayor is NOT the Cabildo and the text on the joint Telefonica / Cabildo website is not really hopeful, to say the least !)
- The Tacoron beach is open again. As IGN said that the area is emission free, the air is no longer controlled at the lower part of the beach. The water samples at Tacoron were good (both bathing water and drinking water).
- All official instances are telling everybody that the eruption has stopped. Everybody who sees the regular jacuzzi's the last couple of days has a hard time to believe that they are not seeing anything. It may have been wiser from IGN, CAP and authorities to give some official explanation about what is going on with the degassing, eventual minimal lava outflow and the remaining HT signal.

Update 26/03 -10:21 UTC
- Our readers are very irritated and surprised that the webcams are shutting down. One of the partners in the webcams was the local government of El Hierro. This means Politics. Politics are mostly (not always) following the pressure of the population. So far, we were aware that the El Hierro population suffered under the volcano alerts and that they hated this volcano more and more. Especially the fallout from less vacationers in La Restinga was a blame for the local economy. This is all understandable. Instead of turning the volcano into a PLUS (which they tried to do from time to time), they are know acting totally OPPOSITE, by turning the world blind and telling people that, if they want to see the volcano, they should come to El Hierro. Spending a lot of money to a tourist marketing company has NO sense if reality is omitted.
- This morning Joke was sitting on the bus from El Pinar to La Restinga. She saw the jacuzzi in the sea from above and started taking some pictures from it. A co-passenger shouted at her that she had to stop chasing away people from the island, by taking all these pictures from the volcano. The eruption stopped he said and still you are taking photographs. There is nothing going on and still you make pictures. Do you really like us to suffer all further on.

- Images Joke Volta from today March 26, 2012

Very Important Update 26/03 -08:21 UTC
- 1 earthquake so far today. A M 1.6 magnitude quake at a depth of 15 km here.
- Continuing microseismicity.
- As an answer to the message below, the volcano is currently sending a jacuzzi to the surface waters. Oh yes, the eruption is over and dead (jacuzzis and lava emitting cone on March 14 (after that the volcano stopped officially erupting!) !
- AVCAN was the first to bring the news semi-officially, but the joint partners Cabildo de El Hierro (Mr. Alpidio Armas) and Telefonica (Movistar) have decided that the webcams are NO longer needed to show the still active Las Calmas sea.
Multi-billion Movistar gives up on El Hierro
As feared by many of our followers, Movistar telecommunications of Spain and the Cabildo of El Hierro have decided to shut down the webcam broadcast of the submarine volcano activity at La Restinga, El Hierro.
As the cost of the operations is literally "peanuts" for such a huge telecommunications company, the major part of the people following this eruption from the beginning have a hard time to understand this decision. Thousands of webcams are operated all over the world and they are just showing the weather!
As long as CAP is operating at El Hierro, a fast reactivation of the still ongoing process is possible. After many months of following operations and time needed to get it working, we are 99.5% convinced that it will be far too late to get the webcams to work again if the volcano reactivates.
As said earlier on, the cost of operating the current webcams is almost nihil ! Why ? As we have seen the last couple of weeks, maintenance is already an absolute minimum (lenses are very rarely cleaned) and the webcam zoom, angle and other settings have internet distance commands. Bandwidth is absolutely nothing for a company like Movistar.
If Movistar and the Cabildo would decide to remove the equipment (we do not know that yet), the cost would be an X-Factor more than continuing operations.
The webcams will be shut down later today or tomorrow.


Update 25/03 -13:02 UTC
- On the eruption webcam one can still see an active vent area, less pronounced than yesterday, but still very active. The line of activity seems to indicate that the current flows from west to east at this moment.

Update 25/03 -09:33 UTC
- NO earthquakes listed by IGN so far today
- Continuing microseismicity (to weak to locate epicenter) but a clear sign that the activity is not over yet
- Joke Volta "sunrise + early morning" images, once again very beautiful

Update 24/03 -23:03 UTC
- One of the more active days today. Except for the rather strong degassing / jacuzzi, a 4th earthquake occurred at 16:56 UTC. It had a Magnitude of 1.8 at a depth of 10 km. Epicenter here.

Update 24/03 - 19:10 UTC
- A strong jacuzzi is clearly seen on the webcam now, as captured by Julio del Castillo Vivero.

- ER reader Sissel has sent us a webcam video recording which shows regular strong degassing. With a little more HT, we would not be surprised to see SLS appearing in the water

Update 24/03 - 14:39 UTC
- Parts 33, 34 and 35 have been cut from this main article. The links to these different parts may be found below this page
- Thanks to ER reader Colin, we have been informed that the comment section no longer worked (the comments automatically closed after 180 days). We have increased this number and the comment section is open again.
- SOS Oceanos did send a new ROV video to Joke. It looks like almost everything is the same than the earlier one, but the current video is a little longer.

Update 24/03 - 10:39 UTC
- a third earthquake occurred at 10:39 UTC to the SW of Frontera. Magnitude : 1.1 Depth : 11 km
- Joke Volta's images of the day and a couple of zoomed images from the Jacuzzi

Update 24/03 - 09:35 UTC
- 2 earthquakes since midnight, resp. M 1.1 and M 1.2
- Joke informed us a little while ago that she saw a jacuzzi forming in the Las Calmas sea when coming down with the bus to La Restinga from El Pinar. This jacuzzi (mainly degassing not SLS) is currently still visible.

Jacuzzi in the Las Calmas sea at 09:35 UTC

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

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