IMPORTANT UPDATE: All future updates can now be found here under our El Hierro Eruption Update.
Update 16/10 – 15.51 : What we were wondering earlier about the seismograph readings showing are actually explosions meaning that the eruption is now less than 100m from the surface. AVCAN have said that once it is at less than 50m, the next stage is for us to see a white colomn of steam and at night, there could be what looks like ‘fireworks’.
Update 16/10 – 14.08 : AVCAN has said that the GPS monitoring the deformation of the island has recorded a small deflation in all of the stations apart from HI04 which has seen a slight increase in deformation. The deflation is being put down to the magma release at the ongoing eruption.
Update 16/10 – 11.42 : There are massive bubbles being seen from the coast with the naked eye …
These gas bubbles seem to be happening every 15 minutes or so. Around the same time as the reports first started this could be seen on the seismo …
It’s not yet showing up as an earthquake, but considering the fact that you would need to be trained to see any resemblence of quakes in the recent seismo readings, this one certainly stands out. A massive gas release perhaps?
Ramon Ortiz from the CSIC (Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) is claiming that this is a new Island being formed and that we should expect the eruption to continue for some time yet.
Update 16/10 – 10.22 : PEVOLCA have said that they will hold a press conference today at 13.00 (UTC) to give official updates. Whilst there has been wild speculation about what ‘could’ happen from certain quarters of the internet, one of the most reliable sources of information has come from people who are ‘on the ground’ in El Hierro itself – Earthquake Report has such a person who has been fantastic in keeping updates coming through.
Overnight there has been changes in the tremors which were viewed around 11pm(UTC) on the seismogram. It is hoped that we will find out more on what is happening later today via the press conference.
We have now decided to use UTC instead of GMT (time) for our reports to make it easier for our readers. From now on, all reports will be UTC.
There have been several reports via Twitter that locals who have attempted to take photographs of the areas have been stopped from doing so. This seems unlikely considering the amount of press that are on the Island unless they are inside the ‘off limits’ area.
Reports that lava had been seen erupting on the Island itself have been disputed and put down to bad translation (again). It is true however, that if the eruptions keep moving towards the island and into shallow waters, there is a chance that we will start to see steam explosions take place.
Update 15/10 – 15.11 : Whilst some of the Spanish news sites are reporting some very strange and odd things. Earthquake Report actually has a journalist, who is at the press base near El Pinar, relaying information to them. For me, that seems the most reliable source at the moment.
News is getting through to the residents of El Hierro about pyroclastic flows reaching the Island – this is not thought to be happening and seems highly unlikely based on the ‘type’ of volcano. The most likely explination is a break down in translating information from Spanish to English – what is very sad is that these reports are now making the residents very nervous, after all, they are finding this information from their own newspapers!
What seems to be likely is that the reports are about smouldering pyroclasts on the surface of the water – this is NOT pyroclastic flows! This is based on the release of footage by AVCAN (seen below).
The local police have increased the evacuation zone (whilst this is not involving more residents it does mean that areas used for viewing are no longer available) and pushed journalists and residents back further.
Whilst the authorities are stating that there is no danger to the residents, this is doing little to ease their worry whilst the eruptions continue.
Update 15/10 – 13.09 : A local newspaper is reporting that a new eruption is taking place around 2 miles from La Restinga. Although scientists have been saying that there has been little change in the last 24 hours – the situation is far from over and remains dangerous.
Further updates will appear soon once information has been gathered.
Update 14/10 – 19.55 : There are reports that the discoloured water from the eruption has now reached the Island and research is underway to find out where/if this is correct.
Update 14/10 – 16.47 : It has been a quiet day compared to the last few. Apart from a Spanish army patrol boat being sent to guard the eruption site, little else has happened. Earlier today the boat Profesor Ignacio Lozano was in attendance and took samples etc. This boat is not equipt with ROV’s but another boat is thought to be attending early next week to view the underwater eruption sites.
There has been 10 reported earthquakes today with the most notible being 2.6 in magnitude. The tremors are also ongoing but still decreased. It does however, look like some increase in deformation has taken place again.
Update 14/10 – 09.56 : There was a very noticeable drop in activity yesterday with the decreased tremors and a distinct lack of earthquake activity. It could be that there has been sufficient release of pressure from the underwater eruptions (either gas or magma) and the situation will now start to stabilise.
The release of video footage yesterday gives very good evidence that there has been an eruption with the change in colour indicating that strongly.
Update 14/10 – 08.23 : There has been no change overnight in the situation. Whilst a few earthquakes have been recorded, they have all been around the M2 range. Both Canaries News and Earthquake Report are reporting that the residents are becoming more and more insistent that Los Roquillas tunnel be reopened immediately as it is having a negative impact on their economy. Local officials are also in agreement with the residents but the central government is having a far more cautious approach and only allowing emergency vehicles to use it.
Update 13/10 – 17.14 : Whilst it does seem like the tremors are decreasing, the situation is far from over. There have been several earthquakes detected around the island with one that stands out, a 1.7 on the north east side.
Almost all of the previous quakes have been located towards the south of the island where the supposed eruptions are taking place.
A look on the pressure chart shows that there is no decrease and it is still building. Whilst there was a slight decrease in deformation of the island yesterday, it did rise again slightly late on and has stayed the same since.
Satalite images are below where you can clearly see the discolouration in the water to the south of the island compared to yesterdays images.
Update 13/10 – 15.01 : It has now been confirmed that the ship the Leon Thevenin will NOT be attending the El Hierro island to investigate the eruptions. It is widely thought that this is down to chartering issues (the expense) and further talks have now been ruled out.
There is some good news being reported. Earthquake Report has reported that another boat, the Profesor Ignacio Lozano will be arriving tomorrow to take more water samples and images of the area. The bad news is that this boat is not equiped with ROV’s (remotely operated vehicles) – this is amazingly bad for those involved with the research of this volcano.
Update 13/10 – 12.31 : Reports are coming through from CanariesNews that the locals in El Hierro are saying that the green patches are growing in size at a rapid rate this morning.
Update 13/10 – 09.01 : The French cable ship the Leon Thevenin which was in Tenerife yesterday is thought to be travelling to the areas suspected of having the eruptions around El Hierro today.
The ship will be a great help to confirm exactly where any eruptions are or have taken place. Even though Director General of Security and Emergency of Canary Islands, Juan Manuel Santana, confirmed during last nights press conference that two further eruptions had taken place, there is growing doubt after several people have expressed concern over the evidence.
On the specialist blog of Jon Frimann, it has been noted that in the images available there is no silt being kicked up by any eruptions taking place. There is speculation that the eruptions so far have only been releasing gas into the water (which is what causes the water discolouration) which would cause the fish to die. At the closest point to the Island of where the eruptions are meant to be the depth is very shallow, perhaps only 200 meters and in some places as low as 75 meters, this should have caused more ‘explosive’ eruptions to take place and leave us with firmer evidence.
Update 12/10 – 20.30 : A 3rd underwater eruption has now been reported by residents of La Restinga who were waiting to collect belongings. It is thought to be a very shallow area around the now vacant port of Puerto Naos.
Update 12/10 – 19.01 : In the press conference taking place, it has been reported that they have found two further different coloured spots 1.5 and 2 miles out to sea off the coast of La Restinga. The depth of water in these places is 500 meters and 750 meters deep.
There are also dead fish and a strong smell of sulphur present. The earlier discussions regarding the moving of boats still in the harbour have been dismissed now.
Update 12/10 – 17.24 : An urgent press conference has been called for all journalists on the Island for 7pm tonight in the capital city.
EL HIERRO UPDATE 12/10 – 16.28(GMT)
There has been a very abrupt decrease in the tremors ….
Whilst many find this good news, there is no such luck to be had. Jon Frimann was quick to point out “This is not good. The current eruption did just stop and now the magma has to find a new path up the surface.”
Basically, where the magma had found a path to follow in the form of the underwater eruption, that has become clogged and stopped. This is bad news as the magma needs to find another way to escape. It could be in the following hours that larger scale earthquakes could occure and this is the final part of the pre-eruptive stage meaning that an eruption closer to the Island is about to take place.
El Hierro Volcanic Eruption/Earthquake Swarm Update 12/10 15.00(GMT):
To the untrained eye it looks like the harmonic tremors taking place on the Island of El Hierro are starting to ease slightly from yesterday (although they still look far from okay!). Some are claiming that this is to be expected and that it’s ‘quite like the quiet before the storm’ whilst others say that the tremors are so intense that the instruments are having trouble reading them.
Jon Frimann mentions “It seems that the tremor is dropping. But that might just mean that the current vent is closing up. Not that the eruption is over.” He also says “It is also hard to know if that earthquake activity can be detected based on the amount of harmonic tremor taking place at the moment.”
There are also lots of reports of scientists being very unhappy at the way this incident was being played out. Not only is the Island in need of new and more accurate instruments, the delay in getting a ‘robot ship’ to the area means that they are losing valuable data.
The residents of La Restinga who were all evacuated yesterday are being allowed access to their homes today under strict supervision to collect medication, documentation and pets etc.
Many fisherman and tourists who have their boats in the harbour still are being contacted – the Canarian government are trying to find a good time to move them out of the harbour – many of the fishermen have expressed a desire to leave them in the harbour because of rough sea and the danger posed by possible volcanic eruptions taking place out at sea in the area.
No one can say for sure how long this crisis will last for or what the outcome will be but one thing is for sure, it’s showing no signs of ending any time soon. Further updates will be added as and when they filter through.
Canary News – Official updates being added
Earthquake Report – Excellent reporting from the Canary Island
Latest Seismograph Readings – Harmonic Tremors Showing
Latest Pressure Readings – As further quakes happen the pressure will rise
Animation Of Earthquakes Data – Watch the quakes on specific dates
Expert Volcanic Advice/Updates – Updates and sensible predictions