Wednesday, December 28, 2011

El Hierro Sputters, Stops, Then Starts Again

Earthquake-report.com has reported that the eruption of El Hierro ceased altogether yesterday, yet resumed this morning with renewed tremor and eruption signals. Reports may suggest that new vents have opened, or the same vent is active again. This morning's view of the eruption area on the El Hierro Webcam  indeed showed a strong 'jacuzzi', and corresponding ocean water stain, suggesting that despite reports from blogger Jon Frimann, and earlier reports from Earthquake-report.com, this eruption remains persistent, and much to the chagrin of reporters and bloggers, frankly makes everyone look stupid... it's the volcanoes fault though for not making up its mind, not the bloggers, and Jon Frimann's article was posted yesterday when the volcano appeared to be finally at rest.

It is my personal opinion that this eruption is not going to truly end anytime soon. Some eruptions are slow, and last a long time, like the persistent activity at Kiluea volcano, and others, like the eruption of Fimmvörðuháls in Iceland that preceded the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, sputter out after a couple weeks. The eruption at El Hierro has continued for months now, and I see no reason for gut reaction reporting when the volcano takes a small break in its intensity. The eruption is not over at this time.

It is usually good protocol to declare an end to an eruption after 1-2 weeks of ceased activity, not 1 or 2 days. While sometimes it seems safe to assume an eruption has ended due to a day or two of quiescence, clearly El Hierro has proven this wrong.

So unless the eruption ceases for about two weeks or so, you won't see me calling this one over, not for a while. This is probably the third time El Hierro has played with volcanologists and bloggers... what's the old saying "fool me once...". In any case, keep your eyes on the El Hierro cam and make your own visual observations rather than believing whatever is written on a blog (link to the official cam page is provided in the first paragraph), and that goes for me too. There is no substitute for firsthand observations, and webcams provide that opportunity to everyone!

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