El Hierro Volcano eruption (Canary Islands) : Part 38 – March 29 until April 3

This is Part 38 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) –  (19/03 – 23/03) –  (24/03 – 28/03) - Part 38 (29/03 - 03/04) - Part 39 (04/04 - 10/04)
Useful links : @VolcanoReportEl Hierro Picasa Photo Album
Our Webcam pages :   NO more eruption webcam ! Too expensive says the local government !!

Update 03/04 - 21:31 UTC
- Joke's afternoon images
- Our webcam friend Mr. Alpidio Armas, the president of the Cabildo El Hierro has encouraged the divers back to the island, especially to start diving again in the Marine Reserve. In the same presidential note (supported by the Tourism department and the Mayor of El Pinar), he says to the fisherman to wait some more time to start fishing in the area as the fish has to recover some more time. Marine biologists from the Universidad de La Laguna is saying that the recovery goes quicker than initially thought.
Joke tells us that the Diving companies never stopped their activity (at the beginning they went for dives at the other side of the island), and that the letter is not really needed. Joke also said that the double tongue approach from the local authorities may have frightened more tourists than attract them (the poor easter tourist occupation is an example of this).

Update 03/04 - 21:00 UTC
- No more earthquakes
- Joke reports that the ferry's from La Palma and Tenerife are fully booked for the next days, almost completely by local Canary Islands people. A lot of f families are reuniting and people hop over for the festivity days (Easter week is very important in Spain). But Joke is also surprised that the apartments and hotels in La Restinga are very poorly occupied. The occupation is only 20% at present and this should be far better during these Easter weeks.
- The map below shows the thickness of the Oceanic plate (crust) around the Canary Islands. This is important as weak spots in this thin crust (continental plates are much thicker) are making it possible that magma can infiltrate towards the surface. Scientists are having a number of theories on the presence of volcanoes in the Canary Islands. Some think that the Canary Islands is a hot spot like Hawaii. Below the crust is the hot solid mantle of the earth.
A lot of the earthquakes at El Hierro are occurring at a depth of 11 to 12 km, exactly the thickness of the crust in that area. But other earthquakes are occurring deeper in hotter areas at depths of 15 to 30 km. In other words volcanism is not a simple science. In our Picasaweb we have some more maps.
- Nemesio Perez, a well known Canary Island volcanologist, is spending his easter holidays at El Hierro. He is criss-crossing the island. He is also known because he has a number of theories which are not dealt by other scientists.

Map courtesy Ramon Casillas

Update 03/04 - 15:25 UTC

- Marine life is gradually recovering from the very poisonous stains at the beginning of the eruption. Small fish are appearing more and more and divers are quite positive. Fisherman have been asked however not to catch fish yet in the area.
- Joke Volta's morning images

Update 03/04 - 11:49 UTC
- a lot of microseismicity today, we expect a couple more 'measurable" earthquakes later today (microseismicity is not listed as the quakes are too weak and/or the epicenter location cannot be determined)à
- Joke wrote to Mara-Jose Jurado to congratulate her with the video recording (see below). José-Maria told her that it was the first time that the water was clear enough to result in good quality video. She also said that the Camera was made in Spain and thet CSIC-IGN was cooperating with the camera company to test it further. She also said that they had more interesting video, and that they will certainly release it after re-editing.
- One of the quake epicenters was located at the western corner of the Island (see map elow). Joke told us that the area has a huge crater which was formed after a hydromagmatic historic eruption. On March 18 she has visited the area as part of one of the volcano courses she has been following.

Image courtesy IGN

Update 03/04 - 08:01 UTC
Is this a sign of the awakening of the volcano ? To early to tell, but what we have seen so far today is the renewed activity of the feeder area at El Golfo. 3 of the 4 earthquake epicenters are located in the El Golfo area. The strongest M2.5 quake below the (new) volcano-vent itself.
4 earthquakes since midnight, the last one being the strongest. The 2.5 earthquake will have been surely felt by islanders and brings the memories back from the multiple earthquake they have felt a couple of months ago.
03/04/2012 03:21 Depth 14 km M 0.7 W FRONTERA
03/04/2012 03:43 No depth M 0.5 NW FRONTERA
03/04/2012 03:44 No depth M 1.4 W FRONTERA
03/04/2012 06:55 Depth 12 km M 2.5 SW EL PINAR

Update 02/04 - 23:55 UTC
- 1 earthquake today. At 09:06, a M 0.6 quake was measured at a depth of 22 km to the SW of El Pinar

Update 02/04 - 20:14 UTC
- Joke reports a very distinctive stain this afternoon

Update 02/04 - 18:43 UTC
- A video published by IGN shows a lot of degassing effects at depth of 100 to 150 m. We believe that the video has been captured by the Salvamar during his excursions the last couple of days. The water was very clear while videotaping? We congratulate CSIC with this video.

Update 02/04 - 11:59 UTC
- Joke reports a sea without jacuzzi and only a very faint stain
- AVCAN reports that the M 2.7 earthquake from yesterday evening (see below) was felt by many people on the island
- Joke Volta's morning images April 2. Joke's images from this morning are among the most beautiful we have seen so far. Congratulations !

Update 01/04 - 21:52 UTC
- 2 more earthquakes tonight. The last being the strongest in a while.
20:36 M 1.7 @ 13 km depth - epicenter here
22:03 M 2.7 @ 15 km depth - epicenter here

M 2.7 earthquake tremor graph - Image courtesy IGN

Update 01/04 - 21:52 UTC

- Joke has added 4 images to the afternoon series (last 4 images). The stain can well be observed.
- CHIE HT graph shows an earthquake at 20:37 UTC. It has not been listed by IGN yet.

Update 01/04 - 18:37 UTC
- Afternoon pictures Joke Volta (in fact photographed in between 10:00 and 17:00)

Update 01/04 - 11:52 UTC
- The Salvamar Adhara is reported hanging around above the vent area. The only reason for "hanging around" is : filming with the special CSIC underwater camera.
- Joke is currently following a volcano course. The group is visiting various interesting volcanic locations.

Update 01/04 - 09:09 UTC
- Morning images Joke Volta

Update 01/04 - 07:57 UTC
- 1 earthquake since midnight. A magnitude 1.1 quake (no depth located) at 03:35 UTC. Epicenter here.
- continuing (decreasing) microseismicity
- a question many people are asking themselves : how long will this report continue ? The answer is very simple : we will report as long as earthquakes, microseismicity and visual signs of degassing are occurring.

Image courtesy IGN

Update 31/03 - 20:38 UTC
- A second M 1.7 earthquake occurred at a depth of 11 km (epicenter, see image at right)
- Etna (Italy) is currently in eruption.

Update 31/03 - 14:20 UTC
- Afternoon image series of Joke Volta. Most of the images are the Salvamar Adhara at work with their vintage rope camera.
- She reports from La Restinga that the Salvamar Adhara is filming around the volcano for the second day in a row (it must have been very intriguing yesterday or in Joke's version - they had nothing on the videotape and have to do it over today). The CSIC camera the Salvamar is carrying has been especially designed for such purposes. More modern systems are also connected with a cable to a ship (energy and video lines), but these ROV systems have self-navigating capacities. The current camera is pulled around. The depth is based on the length of the rope,although the current can push the camera at a greater distance from the boat, so that the depth results are invalid. Although the images are far from perfect due to the big distance, you can see very well the white helmed crew working with the camera connected rope.
Update 14:31 : we have updated the images with a small series from the arrival of the Salvamar Adhara in the port of La Restinga. Joke reports that Maria José Jurado (CSIC) ran away without having to reply any questions and with a "backpack full of treasures" as Joke described it (it can be just a luch of course). The underwater camera was immediately covered with a blanket (why ?). The way the CSIC people are behaving is really "out of bound". At least we, and most of our readers, are not aware of any wrongdoing from our part. Earthquake-report.com is a PARTNER in information and should be treated like it.
- Joke is preparing for an explanatory course given by professors from Involcan and the University of La Laguna. The title of the "free" course : "Learning everything about our volcanoes". Joke is a fan and she told us that the courses are really well prepared and that the lectures are given by devoted scientists.

Update 31/03 - 10:59 UTC
- morning images of Joke Volta (we cannot get enough of them). Jokes pictures will be probably the biggest images database ever made by 1 person at the greater La Restinga area.
- We have changed the system a little bit. From now on every batch of pictures will be a separate Picasa group, this to avoid having to look again to the older ones (at least for those people who are returning a number of times per day)

Update 31/03 - 07:45 UTC
- 1 earthquake since midnight : Magnitude 1.3 at a depth of 14 km. Epicenter in the immediate vent area
- continuing microseismicity
- due to the warm water a lot of jellyfish appears near the coast

Update 30/03 - 22:07 UTC
- Evening images Joke Volta (click on the thumbnails). No jacuzzi or stain at the time of taking the images.
- The SASAMAR plane was suddenly back flying over the vent. The Sasamar plane made almost daily (nightly) flights during the first months of the eruption. It was monitoring the temperature of the surface waters.
- a third earthquake occurred at 19:45 UTC tonight. Magnitude : 1.0, depth 22 km, epicenter here. Again an epicenter in the direct vicinity from Orchilla (the lighthouse). Although the number of earthquakes is limited, they happen more and more in this South-Western part of the coast at depths below 20 km.
- Google earth has now the new volcano system updated in their maps. The location of the cone looks good, but the depths are not as they should be.

Update 30/03 - 16:57 UTC
- a second earthquake occurred at 12:44 UTC at a depth of 27 km. Magnitude : 1.0. Epicenter here
- The first quake (M 0.8) was at a depth of 2 km !!! But often the depth is revised later on.
- A faint jacuzzi is currently reported above the vent.

Camera used by CSIC for underwater filming

Update 30/03 - 15:42 UTC
- Joke was (of course) in the port at the return of the Salvamar Adhara who spend a couple of hours above the vent. Based on what we have seen in the past weeks and months, we know that if the Salvamar Adhara remains a while on the sea, it is not for water sampling only (takes very short time). Bathymetry was done yesterday by the BIO Hesperides, so bathymetry should be excluded too. So Joke asked Maria José Jurado, the CSIC representative on board, if she had worked with the floating video camera (it is a camera on a rope pulled by the Salvamar Adhara, not a ROV). She said yes, we did.
Joke continued asking Maria José about what she has seen on the camera. She said that she had some interesting material, but she had to analyze it further on. She also said, that when the quality would be good enough, CSIC will send it to the Gobierno de Canarias to publish the video.
Joke also asked : was there still some activity ? She said : Yes, we still see some gases coming out of the vent. Joke continued asking : also gases at the surface ? She said : NO.
We will publish Joke's images from the boat, spectators, camera on board, a few jelly fish in a while.
ER comment : nothing new here of course, at least nothing which surprises us. The jacuzzis we have seen for many days in a row are absolute signs of further degassing. The main question remains, is there still lava coming out of the vent. The last time we know for sure that that was the case was on March 14 when the ULPGC ROV made a video recording of it. The latest bathymetry data from CSIC did tell us that the cone was at 88 meter. But this depth was measured at the end of February ! All frequent El Hierro eruption followers have 1 major question. How deep is the crater rim at this moment ? Is it a coincidence that the Salvamar Adhara starts filming again 1 day after that the BIO Hesperides measured the depth of the Las Calmas sea floor or cone ? Probably yes or probably not. At least we know that fresh erupted lava was seen by the ULPGC ROV on March 14, and there are NO indications that this pattern has changed since then. Does this mean that the depth will be less ? Not necessarily. Let us all hope that the results will be published soon in the website of the Gobierno de Canarias.

Update 30/03 - 09:59 UTC
- Joke told us that the Salvamar Adhara has just been spotted at the main vent, probably taking water samples
- On Jokes images (click on the thumbnails below), the main vent can well be seen as well as a far bigger colored area. There is doubt whether this is current coloring or a stain. We go for the stain.

Update 30/03 - 09:59 UTC
- Joke just send us a morning report. When walking down the lave fields to La Restinga, she stumbled in a AA lava field (thick sharp lava flowing out of a crater at a slow speed) but fell luckily in a lapilli field (small volcanic stones falling out of the sky during an eruption - more or less like thick ash). It is a little painful but everything is still functioning (including her cameras)
- While driving down with the bus this morning, Joke saw a jacuzzi, but in the meantime he disappeared again
- Joke told us that she saw technicians at the webcam mast ! Let's hope that they will leave the webcams untouched as we will never see them again in time if necessary ! As politics are against any further "bad news", we have no hope at all that they will reactivate the webcam.
- 1 earthquake since midnight.
- continuing microseismicity
- NO change in horizontal GPS deformation

Update 29/03 - 22:20 UTC
Julio del Castillo Vivero has created a fantastic high resolution panoramic image with 60 images from Joke Volta ! (they regularly share their work). The result El Hierro as a color palette
Picture info : 180 meters above sea level - Taken today (29th March) - Mountain Dácila - Finca José Pérez, locals call it Montaña La Restinga

Click on the image to see this great picture in Full Size.

Update 29/03 - 21:20 UTC
- The BIO (Buque de Investigación Oceanográfica) has made a short bathymetry mission stop at El Hierro today during his return trip from Antarctica. Spain has an Antarctica base and during the months November to February, the Antarctic peninsula is merely ice free.
- And to make the day complete, here are the beautiful evening images of Joke Volta

Update 29/03 - 21:04 UTC
- The Spanish Army is really good in public relations. IGN needs to take an example on them. In a press report on the Armada Española website this evening, the bathymetry mission was highlighted.
"El buque ha realizado varias líneas de prospección en una cuadrícula de trabajo situada en las coordenadas: 27º 40´N // 27º 30´N de latitud y 18º 05´W // 17º 55´W de longitud, para determinar el punto de mayor altura del edificio volcánico y comprobar posibles variaciones desde el último levantamiento batimétrico."
Human translation : The vessel has done several rectangle routes under the coordinates : 27º 40´N // 27º 30´N de latitude y 18º 05´W // 17º 55´W longitude to determine the highest point of the volcano and check any possible changes since last bathymetry.
- Afternoon images Joke Volta (beautiful colors !)

Update 29/03 - 17:13 UTC
- February was according to Diario El Hierro (who got the statistics from the tourist board) a better month for apartment rentals than last year (although the numbers are not really hopeful). 384 rented apartments in 2012 versus 314 in 2011. People are staying in average 4.8 days vs 3.5 days last year. Occupation was 13 % vs 8.4 % last year. 375 families had the Spanish nationality and the 9 others were from Germany. The pre-eruption earthquakes have started by the end of July 2011.
- A commenter at AVCAN was criticizing the fact that one of the major Spanish touroperators scheduled vacations to all Canary Islands on the exception of El Hierro

Update 29/03 - 14:00 UTC
-The big boat Hesperides left La Restinga at around 11:45 UTC, making it one of the shortest and quickest bathymetry measurement sessions of all.

Update 29/03 - 10:00 UTC

- As promised, Joke Volta's morning images

Hesperides, Spanish Navy research vessel - image courtesy Wikipedia

Update 29/03 - 09:26 UTC
- morning report of Joke Volta, the earthquake-report.com "human webcam", as she said herself 🙂
* Joke saw a faint jacuzzi this morning
* A new bathymetry ship has been seen criss-crossing the usual vent area. The trails of the ship in the water makes it almost impossible to make a distinction in between the faint jacuzzi and the stirred water left from the navigating ship. The new bathymetry ship calls "Hesperides". The "Hesperides" is a military polar research vessel (Antarctica missions).
Wikipedia information about the "Hesperides" : Hesperides (A-33), is a Spanish polar research vessel. She was built in 1990, by Bazán Shipyards of Cartagena (Spain). Hesperides is used to service the research bases in Antarctica as well as various research voyages. Hesperides is classified by Lloyd's Register of Shipping with ice class 1C. She can move through up to 0.5 meters (1 ft 8 in) of ice at 5 knots. Her propulsion system uses a computer-controlled variable-pitch propeller and stern and bow thrusters. The vessel carries one helicopter. In 2003-2004 she was the subject of a thorough renovation, the hull was strengthened even more to break ice, all systems were improved and the habitability of the ship. The vessel is equipped with eleven laboratories, spread over 345 m² and located on the main deck and below. In 2009 the vessel participated in a high profile rescue of the Ocean Nova, a vessel with 106 people in the Antarctic.
* The first batch of "human webcam images" will arrive soon.

Update 29/03 - 08:52 UTC
- 1 earthquake so far today. M 1.5 at a depth of 17 km in the Orcilla (lighthouse) area. Good to retain is that we have had 2 earthquakes in a row in a rather new epicenter area.
- continuing microseismicity (weak earthquakes)
- Joke is on heir way to the coast (she lives in El Pinar - as she has no car, she has to take the bus (only a couple of connections) or to hitch-hike down to La Restinga or the coastal hills). We think our readers have to know what efforts she does (on a daily basis) to inform our international readership about what is going on at La Restinga. All this as a volunteer ! During quite some time Joke could stay at the (not rented) apartment of a friend in La Restinga

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) – (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)

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.