El Hierro Volcano eruption (Canary Islands) : Part 55 – December 16 2012 until March 16 2013

This is Part 55 of the El Hierro Volcano eruption report


You may follow also Facebook Volcano Page – Google+ Volcanoes – Twitter : @VolcanoReport
With the collaboration of Joke Volta, an El Hierro resident and Julio del Castillo Viverophotographer.
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(29/03 – 03/04) – (04/04 – 10/04) – (11/04 – 21/04) – (22/04 – 30/04) – (01/05 – 10/05) – (11/05 – 31/05) – (01/06 – 14/06) – (15/06 – 24/06) –  (25/06 – 26/06) – Part 47 (27/06 – 28/06) – Part 48 (29/06 – 01/07) – Part 49 (02/07 – 06/07) – Part 50 (07/07 – 31/07) – Part 51 (01/08 – 31/08) – Part 52 (01/09 – 11/09) - Part 53 (12/09 – 30/09) - Part 54 (01/10 – 15/12) - Part 55 (16/12 – 16/03) -
Useful links : @VolcanoReport – El Hierro Picasa Photo Album

2013-03-16 16:52 UTC

- A short period of seismic activity near midnight earlier today.

Screen Shot 2013-03-16 at 17.48.36

2013-03-13 23:40 UTC
- The so called activity which started around 08:00 this morning ended at 18:00 UTC this evening. The same occurred yesterday. The logical explanation for this is human interference. Seismographs are very sensitive instruments and cars, people or other human activities can influence the recordings. We think this is the case here.

2013-03-13 09:00 UTC
- No more volcanic earthquakes listed since yesterday. The seismic anomalies yesterday have merely disappeared.

2013-03-12 15:52 UTC
- Minor seismic activity since 9:00 UTC this morning. Why minor, because none of the peaks made it to the IGN list below (in other words, not enough data available to make a precise earthquake report).
- ER reader Berry Theunissen commented below this article that :

IGN website reports that the island can be approached from all directions again.
So no limitation to go over the “new” eruption site south of La Restinga
Quote: Nota Importante: A partir del próximo 18 de marzo la información de la actividad volcánica de la isla de El Hierro estará accesible desde la dirección
ER : Let's hope for them that today's seismic activity is not the start of something more 🙂

Screen Shot 2013-03-12 at 17.23.52

Screen Shot 2013-03-12 at 16.52.45

2013-03-09 16:35 UTC
- A limited number of volcanic earthquakes since March 5

Screen Shot 2013-03-09 at 17.31.33

2013-03-05 23:55 UTC
- A very calm period with only one listed earthquake since our last update

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 01.27.09

La Palma seismogram
Thanks to our readers who are always constantly monitoring the El Hierro and other Canary islands activity, we were alerted tonight of something going on at La Palma (station Ehig).
No listed earthquakes by IGN, but we cannot explain the strong HT on the graph.
HT is currently slowing down a bit.
HT may be also because of a malfunctioning instrument, but the HT on the graph las no error pattern!
Lets hope that IGN who has 24/24 7/7 monitoring service in Madrid will explain soon what it is.
Update 22:57 UTC : Based on local news reports, a very strong depression with hurricane force winds hits the islands and the state of emergency has been declared on many islands. Schools are closed tomorrow because of the storm! It isn't explaining everything of course but this situation will be certainly part of what is happening.
Read more about the weather situation here

La Palma seismic station EHIG - harmonic tremor

2013-03-03 22:15 UTC
- Since 20:00 tonight the seismic activity at El Hierro is intensifying again. The seismograph shows a number (of still limited) earthquakes. None of these latest earthquakes have been listed by IGN so far. Too soon to confirm that also the icker HT CHIE line is caused by the current phenomenons.

Screen Shot 2013-03-03 at 23.13.28

Screen Shot 2013-03-03 at 23.20.08

2013-03-01 19:33 UTC
- That was a while ago. Some skiing days were in between today's post and the latest update. Most of them were weak volcanic eartrhquakes.

Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 20.36.08

2013-02-21 16:24 UTC
- The weak seismic period continues with 2 volcanic earthquakes since our last update. The M2.7 earthquake was however felt by the people closest to the epicenter.

Screen Shot 2013-02-21 at 17.25.14

2013-02-17 23:55 UTC
- IGN and the authorities have decided to follow up the volcanic crisis from their control room in Madrid. This was already the case during the night and in the weekends. From now on follow up (the instruments will continue functioning on the island) will be done in Madrid. The islanders are not happy at all with this decision. ER thinks this is a logic step as seismometers and other equipment can be followed up as good in Madrid as at El Hierro (IGN has skilled personnel during 24/24 and 7/7).
- Seismicity at the island is limited but still present

Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 00.42.11

2013-02-12 13:55 UTC
- Since a couple of hours the CHIE HT line is thicker and thicker and an increasing number if micro seismic events is occurring. No listed volcanic earthquakes however. Check the graph out here.

2013-02-11 14:22 UTC
- El Hierro will receive 700,000 € to build a "Volcano Visitor Center" on the island. Only 1 purpose : inform and attract tourists about this great volcanic island. We are happy for the people of El Hierro but the taste of all this for those who followed the volcano eruption is very sour. Those who will receive the money were against distributing too much information or even supporting a HD webcam costing no more than a few thousand euro's. We think that their attitude will not change when they have a volcanic center.
- More than usual volcanic earthquakes on February 7th. It only means that the activity below the island is not over yet.

Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 15.06.30

2013-02-07 09:50 UTC
- We were disturbed in the middle of writing an update for El Hierro when the Santa Cruz Island Mega-Quake hit.
- 3 Spanish organisations (Involcan, IGME and IHHM) will publish a scientific paper at a conference in April claiming that they have found another eruption location at the south-west part of the island. The eruption was detected by the oceanographic vessel Hesperides during the fierce seismic period of the end of June / beginning July. Sonar images show, what the researchers are claiming to be volcanic plumes, eruption material released at less than 2 NM from the coast and at depths of 64 to 88 meter. The released material was thrown up to a depth of 48 meter. Involcan sees a confirmation in their findings from the strong deformation at the time and from some increased chemical values. (ER:Involcan omits one of the most important elements here : the depth of the hypocenters! There were almost no volcanic earthquakes at a this shallow depth, neither was there any evolution in shallower depth - read our extensive reporting at the time here))
Involcan got its moment of glory explaining this "new" event on all Spanish TV stations. Big news in Spain.
- For ER the big news is that these scientific organizations did wait 6 months to disclose these findings. These acoustic images were almost IMMEDIATELY available at the time the Hesperides made his research trip. NO WORD TO THE PUBLIC at that time. Since the beginning of the El Hierro eruption process, our readers have the feeling that the Spanish research institutions are not publishing all they know. The current disclosure is another proof of all this. We do not think Involcan is to be blamed for what happened (or did they wait to present their scientific paper on the conference), but other organizations surely are.
Read also the article in Diario El Hierro about this 2th eruption spot.

Screen Shot 2013-02-07 at 11.31.14

Image courtesy and copyright Involcan

El Hierro volcanic earthquakes February 7 2013

2013-02-05 11:58 UTC
- Only few earthquakes, but something is currently starting, however we do not know whether it will continue the following hours. A lot of micro-seismicity since a couple of hours. (Thanks to our readers Tam and Leona who have been informing us of what was happening)

El Hierro seismic activity on February 5 2013

Eal Hierro volcanic earthquakes February 4-5 2013

2013-02-03 23:58 UTC
- Almost nothing to report as we had only 2 mini earthquakes in 2 days

Screen Shot 2013-02-04 at 00.55.04

2013-02-01 08:58 UTC
- Superficially it looks like yesterday's activity ended, but if you look carefully at the CHIE graph, many micro events are still occurring.
- IGN has not listed (at the time of writing) the 02:33 earthquake yet. This was a local earthquake as no other event so strong happened elsewhere in the world.

2013-01-31 19:03 UTC
- A strong (for El Hierro at least) earthquake occurred at 16:27 UTC at a depth of 15 km.
No other earthquakes have been listed by IGN today, but if we watch the HT graph, we see some real changes happening. We are of course curious what the next hours will happen. The HT line is seriously thicker than this morning and the amplitude increased a little before the strong earthquake. Location of the epicenter here. The epicenter of this quake (more or less at the new volcano buildup) makes this episode even more interesting.
CHIE graph as showed on the screenshot below can be followed in real time here (30 minutes delay)
Let us stay alerted in this phase and please comment whenever a serious change is noticed.

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 19.28.52

2013-01-29 20:42 UTC
- 8 volcanic earthquakes since our latest update
- We do thank Paulo from Brasil for his kind donation to this site.

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 21.40.53

2013-01-27 13:57 UTC
- 6 earthquakes since our last update. yesterday there were 5 volcanic earthquakes in only 34 minutes !

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 14.54.36

2013-01-25 22:57 UTC
- 3 volcanic earthquakes today.
- IGN has confirmed that the stain earlier this week was because of degassing of the volcano edifice. This phenomenon can go on for some more weeks.
- The President of the Canary Islands, Mr. Ricardo Melchior, has made a statement that Involcan will get the necessary 240.000 euro to continue their work.

Screen Shot 2013-01-25 at 11.59.38 PM

2013-01-20 14:35 UTC
- ER readers Sissel and Leona and some other people yesterday (see below) have alerted us concerning a thicker HT line on the CHIE graph. As there was not an increase in volcanic earthquakes, we indicated that the thicker line was instrumental or weather related.
Diario El Hierro created a lot of rumor this morning mentioning a football field size stain in the Las Calmas Sea.
Still no other activity which is needed to have a volcanic process (multiple earthquakes, deformation, gases etc).
In a second article a little later Diario indicated that the stain is a 30 to 45 days returning phenomenon, only this time the stain is bigger than normal.
Politicians on the island have requested at IGN to explain what is happening. In the past IGN commented that the stains are the result of a continuous degassing process on the new volcano crater area.
We remember also seeing video fragments from a ROV showing this degassing.
In other words, no renewed eruption process at the moment.

2013-01-19 23:59 UTC
- Only 3 volcanic earthquakes since our latest update
- Some people have alerted us because of a thicker HT line on the graphs. Without seismic activity we do not believe that the volcanic process will start again. The ticker line may have an instrumental cause or may be caused by bad weather

Screen Shot 2013-01-20 at 01.05.35

2013-01-15 07:47 UTC
- 2 volcanic earthquakes since our last update

El Hierro volcanic earthquakes

2013-01-13 19:04 UTC
- More action than usual the last couple of days (but far from a new episode of course)

Screen Shot 2013-01-13 at 20.03.14

2013-01-11 09:15 UTC
- NO volcanic earthquakes to report.
- A comment below refers to an article about the floating lave bombs which we liked so much during the eruption. We stared at it for many many days :). Both articles below are scientific comments on it (in English !). The timing is not exactly correct, but the articles are reporting on the restingolitas and not on the eruption itself.

Floating stones off El Hierro, Canary Islands: xenoliths of pre-island sedimentary origin in the early products of the October 2011 eruption
In the first days of the event, peculiar eruption products were found floating on the sea surface, drifting for long distances from the eruption site. These specimens, which have in the meantime been termed “restingolites” (after the close-by village of La Restinga), appeared as black volcanic “bombs” that exhibit cores of white and porous pumice-like material. Read more

Floating restingolitas @ El Hierro, Spain

Copyright and courtesy paper authors (see read more)

LASI V: Xeno-Pumice– Mysterious Floating Rocks of the Canary Islands
The large green stain was easily observable from space. In the midst of these strange conditions, some highly unusual rocks were erupted. For several days after the sea started bubbling, strange floating rocks were observed and collected off the coast of La Restinga, the closest town to the undersea eruption. These floating stones were generally tens of centimeters in size and resembled lava bombs in shape. The outsides of these floating rocks consisted ofbasanite , a rock type commonly observed in the Canary Islands and other volcanic ocean islands. Read more

2013-01-09 17:33 UTC
- 2 very weak earthquakes yesterday
- Diario El Hierro is publishing an article today which gives a synopsis of a far bigger article in Geology, a specialized magazine (the magazne is behind a pay wall!). Most important to know is that the eruption at El Hierro added 329 million cubic meters of magma to the island. Diario also mentioned that this volume is the equivalent of 120,000 olympic swimming pools, but in terms of volcanic eruptions after all a limited volume. ER hates to see reports behind paying walls which have been written by scientists who are paid with public money!

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 18.16.48

2013-01-07 18:46 UTC
- Nothing special to report, but we want to keep you all updated as before : only 2 earthquakes in 3 days time !

Screen Shot 2013-01-07 at 19.43.13

2013-01-05 11:35 UTC

- For all those among you looking at the graphs. Be sure, nothing happened at El Hierro. The strong amplitude is the M7.5 Alaska earthquake !
Check our report by clicking on the link below
Potential Tsunami from M7.7 earthquake off Alaska - ALL WARNINGS and ADVISORIES are now CANCELED

2013-01-03 14:06 UTC

- The process has ended again. As we changed from server, and the last post of yesterday has not been copied, please find below all the earthquakes since yesterday 12:48 UTC. You will see that today is an earthquake desert again

Image courtesy IGN, Spain

Image courtesy IGN, Spain

2013-01-02 14:01 UTC

- Maybe boring communication, but those of you following this event again will be looking for eventual changes in the patterns. We do not see them right now (same depth, same Magnitudes, same locations) ... but 8 new, relatively strong earthquakes since our morning update..

Screen Shot 2013-01-03 at 15.04.42

2013-01-02 09:29 UTC

- Activity continues in the somewhat deeper 17 to 21 km layer in the same Las Puntas - Frontera area. As the HT remains almost flat compared to the strong amplitude yesterday afternoon, it looks that the magma has been stopped at the current stage. Only earthquakes are generated. Next 24 hours will give us a clue whether the magma will remain locked in or will find a way to another point.
- The only point to the south of the swarm is a 10.6 km depth earthquake which you can see in the list. We do not think that there is a relation in between the swarm and the isolated 10.6 km quake.

Image courtesy avcan.org

2013-01-01 23:40 UTC

- HT has calmed down again but the earthquake activity remains. Please note also that the very weak earthquakes have not been listed by IGN
- 42 volcanic earthquakes so far today
- The hypocenter depth has shifted again a little deeper but at the other hand the strength of the earthquakes is getting a little stronger too

2013-01-01 18:07 UTC

- The earthquake below was the latest one in a series. After that one a 2 hour calm with almost no seismic activity started. At 17:24 UTC however, a new activity period has started (see HT graph below). The earthquakes of this period are not yet listed by IGN while writing this update. We have counted at least 10 spikes, earthquakes who will be listed soon. The HT graph below is showing the 17:00 to 18:00 UTC period. The amplitude on the graph is similar to the activity yesterday.

2013-01-01 13:47 UTC

- The swarm has not completely ended yet and looks to be reactivating again.
- The depth layer where the activity generates stress is gradually getting less deeper with a lot of quakes in the 16 km layer (a change from the 17 to 21 km yesterday). This does not mean that there should be a higher risk now, only that the magma pressure is gradually getting higher.
- We are sure that the current earthquakes are occurring in yet another area of the island which was not yet active since the early activity. The current area is more to the north of the island (north of Las Puntas) which is creating a whole new story as we do not know how the layers will behave. Again a surprise at El Hierro!
- These are the latest volcanic earthquakes :

Map courtesy Avcan.org

2013-01-01 09:27 UTC

- It looks like the swarm, which was very heavy since yesterday noon, has calmed down again the last couple of hours. Below the list of volcanic earthquakes since our last update, yesterday afternoon. Impressive!
- The big majority of earthquakes occurred in the +17 km layer. Few of them came up to the 12 to 16 km, but we cannot talk about an evolution, rather some isolated cases.
- HT graph from this morning shows the calming of the process


2012-12-31 17:28 UTC

- Normally our latest update in 2012 ! - 3 more earthquakes, one reaching the email alert level at M2.5

2012-12-31 16:08 UTC

- 5 more to report and we think a lot more as IGN seems to have a hard time to list the new ones !
- Not sure what the following hours and days will bring, but New Years eve will be special at El Hierro as the strength of the earthquakes may probably increase soon (patters of the last swarms).
- We can now talk of a real swarm.

Important update 2012-12-31 15:30 UTC

- Looks like El Hierro want to give a sign that it is not completely over yet ! An earthquake swarm has started in the Frontera area.
The depth is currently located at 17 to 21 km, in other words no real risk for a quick eruption at this level.
Keep looking together with us and report by means of the comment section if you read or see something special.
Magnitudes are among the higher values that we have seen in recent weeks and even months - M1.5 until M2.2
The activity can well be seen at a seismograph in the El Julan area (see below)

All data courtesy IGN, Spain

Thank you Mary and Roland for alerting us

2012-12-30 09:51 UTC

- Nothing special to report the last couple of days. Just 1 volcanic earthquake

2012-12-28 09:16 UTC

- Only 1 earthquake during several days. The "maybe" swarm theory of a couple of days ago has now officially ended.

2012-12-25 09:36 UTC

- Merry Christmas to all of our readers and especially to our many worldwide donators. Without you this site would not have been possible. Success is great to have but gets costly is the site needs more power, automatisation etc.
- @ El Hierro we see some minor changes happening in the very weak volcanic earthquakes pattern. Do us a favor and check the midnight to 05 AM (undisturbed) CHIE graph. We have more (minimal) events than the prior days. These are or micro-earthquakes or human interaction. Hard to say at this moment. This said, readers Colin and Leona (oh yes, we have a bunch of people looking at the instruments together with us), had noticed that the HT line gets gradually denser. The weather may still be the reason for this phenomenon as the weather was severe the last 24 hours (5-6 beaufort gusts). Weather will be calming down from now on so the line should be tinner gradually if the wind was the reason.

2012-12-24 12:00 UTC

- 4 earthquakes since December 20
- We do not think that there is any change in the harmonic tremor

2012-12-19 23:55 UTC

- Only 2 earthquakes, 1 of them very shallow but se do not think that this earthquake has a volcanic origin as no other elements have changed since quiet some time. A volcanic crisis is more than earthquakes.
The CHIE seismogram does not show any anomalies.

2012-12-18 09:40 UTC

- No further action since our latest summary of earthquakes

2012-12-17 11:19 UTC

- We just get a notice of a normally harmless tectonic earthquake with a Magnitude of 4 at a depth of approx. 40 km out of the Tenerife coast. If you have felt this earthquake, please leave a note in our earthquake page here

2012-12-17 10:07 UTC

- 2 volcanic earthquakes since our latest update

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) - (19/03 - 23/03) - (24/03 - 28/03) - (29/03 - 03/04) - (04/04 - 10/04) - (11/04 – 21/04) - (22/04 – 30/04) - (01/05 – 10/05) - Part 43 (11/05 – 31/05) - (01/06 – 14/06) - (15/06 – 24/06) - Part 46 (25/06 – 26/06)Part 47 (27/06 – 28/06) – Part 48 (29/06 – 01/07) - Part 49 (02/07 – 06/07)Part 50 (07/07 – 31/07) - Part 51 (01/08 – 31/08) - Part 52 (01/09 – 11/09) - Part 53 (12/09 – 30/09) - Part 54 (01/10 – 15/12) -

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.