Friday, December 16, 2011

El Hierro Volcano Eruption Pauses (Or Ceases)

The eruption at El Hierro volcano in the Canary Islands appears to have ground to a halt. Webcam images and live feeds from the past few days show no 'jacuzzis' and the stain in the ocean water is not visible at this time. Harmonic tremor has greatly decreased or ceased altogether , but has gradually picked up again late in the day with occasional spikes. There have been few if any earthquakes in the area.

The eruption underwater could just be building up to another phase, or it could have stopped. It is possible that the underwater vent has collapsed, which could stop the eruption. The other possibility is that the pressure could again build up leading to more activity, but it is hard to tell. At this time, the maritime exclusion zone remains in place just to be cautious as eruptive activity could resume at any time.

The eruption in El Hierro lasted several months, and did not cause any damage. Fish kill and occasional floating, steaming volcanic rocks were visible, with a possibility that the volcano briefly had incandescent material ejected during the middle of the night earlier this week. If anything new develops, I will be sure to cover it, but as of now it looks like this could be the last post about El Hierro for a while... time will tell.

In other news, Ijen volcano in Indonesia is starting to show signs of activity. John Seach reports on his website "Increased seismicity has been recorded at Ijen volcano, Indonesia. Between 8-13 December 2011 harmonic tremor and 77 shallow volcanic earthquakes were recorded at the volcano. Seismicity began to increase in October 2011 and continued high levels of shallow volcanic earthquakes have continued at the volcano. Between 1-13 December visual observations showed brown-white emissions with a weak pressure rising 50-200 m above the crater. On 15th December 2011 the alert status at Ijen volcano was raised to level 2 (out of a maximum 4). A 1 km exclusion zone has been placed around the crater. This affects both visitors and sulphur miners."

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