Wednesday, November 23, 2011

El Hierro Volcano Resumes Activity

El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain 11/23/2011

El Hierro volcano resumed its vent activity this week with multiple vents opening up underwater near the ongoing eruption site. Videos from the webcams placed on the island show multiple "stains" in the water, and there was video posted of a large gas bubble bursting to the surface barely East of the original vent. Earthquakes on the island have been ongoing, and have not ceased even when the vent was not active.

This indicates that magma is still very much on the move under El Hierro. Earthquake activity continues to the north of El Golfo, where scientists are trying to determine whether another vent has opened there as well. Many local bloggers on El Hierro are complaining that the local authorities and company Telefonica, and Movistar have been absent on daily reporting, and this is creating some local controversy. Calls have been made for local authorities to step up coverage in an effort to bring in tourists, citing what they see as an opportunity for promoting their island that is being missed.

The second vent that has opened is on the east flank of the first vent, and is erupting simultaneously at this time. The eruption has weakened a bit, and we are not seeing any Surtseyan activity (ie: lava/gas/ash breaking the water's surface) at this time, although if the eruption gains some strength, this could resume at any time.

A maritime exclusion zone remains in place, and the webcam at Telefonica remains up and running. Observations I made this morning clearly show the two stains in the water. A small one to the left (East) of the screen, and a long slick going to the right (West) of the screen. Enjoy the below video which shows the second stain appearing!

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