Monday, November 28, 2011

El Hierro Erupts With New Vents

El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain

El Hierro volcano put on a show this weekend as new submarine vents have opened erupting several "Jacuzzis" into view. Pieces of steaming lavas were seen on the surface of the water, and samples were collected by IGN (the Spanish Geological Authority). The samples revealed that several types of magmas are being mixed in this eruption, including low silica basanite, trachyte, and rhyolite. This conforms with the assertion that at least two separate magma columns are coalescing beneath the island to fuel the ongoing eruption.

An image of the multiple "jacuzzis" off the southern coast of La Restinga.

Early morning webcam views showed intermittent jacuzzis, with some floating pumice visible on the water surface, although the most vigorous activity seems to have occurred over the weekend.

There have been several short pauses in the eruption since it began more than two months ago, however seismicity remains constantly active. Tens of thousands of tremors have hit the island in the phase that led to the eruption, and they continue to be recorded at more than 500 events a day, although most cannot be felt by residents.

I will post more updates as they come available, but the reporting out of the island has been lacking to say the least. National Geographic is now on the scene, so at least we can expect a documentary similar to the one about the Iceland volcano that erupted last year to air on TV soon. For now, I am relying on reports from IGN, Wired News, and other sources to cobble together this report. Every article I read points out a different aspect of the eruption, but I'd like to put the whole picture together, hence this blog.

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