Friday, January 6, 2012

Vigorous Steaming at El Hierro Volcano

Morning webcam stream shows a VERY strong steam area over the vent at El Hierro. This indicates the vent is getting near to the surface, or temperature has drastically increased near the surface of the water. The steaming is constant, and lively, with occasilanl lava rocks coming briefly to the surface before they sink back down. It is quite possible that the volcano will legitimately enter the Surtseyan phase soon enough.


The column of steam near the surface this morning.

The eruption at El Hierro has been a bit erratic lately, occasionally looking like it's going to end, but the volcano has continuously been erupting for months now, with at least no visual signs lately of slowing down. Indeed, this vigorous steaming is about the most active the surface has ever been during the eruption, with the minor exceptions of a brief explosive event during the evening, and burning lava rocks occasionally visible at the ocean surface.

As of this writing, the column of steam coming from the water is quite persistent, and I see no reason why this eruption would end at this point. Time will tell. The eruption thus far has proceeded at a very slow pace. The island had plenty of warning via thousands of earthquakes, and the vent that opened up south of La Restinga has slowly but consistently grown, collapsed, and grown again. It seems the volcano is in no rush to breach the surface, but that could change at any time.

The steam so far seems to be a combination of floating steaming lava rocks, and very hot water. From what I saw this morning, I did not see a great many floating rocks, and the ones I did see didn't stick around too long. This looks to me like the water is incredibly hot, meaning that either the eruptive force down below is becoming strong enough to boil the water near the summit, or the summit is closer to the surface. Time will tell, and this new activity hasn't gone on long enough for INVOLCAN to take a close up look scientifically. Likely this will take some time. Updates will be posted tomorrow.

As of about 10:30am PST, the Movistar/Telefonica webcams appear to be offline. is urging people to tweet:

@movistar_es ¡Las webcams de la erupción volcánica en El Hierro NO FUNCIONAN! Hay mucha actividad, por favor arreglarlas pronto. Gracias

which translates to: The El Hierro eruption webcams DO NOT WORK. There is a lot of activity, please fix them as soon as possible. Thank You

I would certainly "tweet" this message, if I were a Twitter user (nothing I have to say is 140 characters short!), so if anyone that reads this would like to use their tweet power to help get the cams back online, I'm sure all of us "Bob" fans would greatly appreciate it!

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