The triangular island of Hierro is the SW-most and least studied of the Canary Islands. The massive Hierro shield
volcano is truncated by a large NW-facing escarpment formed as a result of gravitational collapse of El Golfo volcano
about 130,000 years ago. The steep-sided 1500-m-high scarp towers above a low lava platform bordering 12-km-wide
El Golfo Bay, and three other large submarine landslide deposits occur to the SW and SE. Three prominent rifts oriented
NW, NE, and south at 120 degree angles form prominent topographic ridges. The subaerial portion of the volcano
consists of flat-lying Quaternary basaltic and trachybasaltic lava flows and tuffs capped by numerous young cinder cones
and lava flows. Holocene cones and flows are found both on the outer flanks and in the El Golfo depression. Hierro
contains the greatest concentration of young vents in the Canary Islands. Uncertainty surrounds the report of an
historical eruption in 1793.
Friday, January 20th, 2012
The survey conducted last week by scientists at the Ramon Margalef research vessel belonging to the Spanish
Oceanographic Institute (IEO) , was able to confirm the establishment of the cone of the volcano outside La Restinga
to a depth of 130 meters.
Surveys performed were carried out during the 10th and 11th January, and have also shown a significant increase in
the volume , both the cone and deposits associated with the emission of material. This increase covers almost entirely
the western submarine canyon.
These deposits run from the mouth of the volcano to about 2,000 meters depth. The deposits are divided into two part
at 950m depth. For the upper, scientists have estimated that the total deposits reached 57 million cubic meters of aluvial
fan to a volume of 88 million cubic meters, which is a total of 145 million cubic meters of material deposited.
This model has been given by IEO, and it shows that there actually are two places from where
volcanic material are emitted. As for the new one, to the left of the original one, lots of lava-ballons have
been reported west of where they usually floats up, and are probably coming from this new opening.
A certain volcanic activity in this area have been reported lately.
Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
Involcan and Guardia Civil Helicopteres images taken on January 9th, 2012
Excerpts from DIARIOELHIERRO.ES, 01.09.2012. 16:50 pm :
Professor of Tokyo Institute of Technology and maximum scientific advisor of the Japanese government on underwater volcanic eruptions, Kenji Nogami, has flown in from Japan.
Kenji Nogami said that there are no major differences between submarine eruptive processes in Japan and produced at this time in El Hierro. There are clear indications that it is entering a phase posteruptive.
The Japanese expert recalled that the Japanese submarine eruptions
have lasted from a few hours to 2 years and their
On questions about the risk for the population, Nogami said it at
least until the new volcano has not reached about
Sunday, December 11th, 2011
Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN) reported that during 30 November-6 December the submarine eruption
continued S of El Hierro Island, with lava balloons sporadically observed floating on the sea.
During this period, the mean tremor amplitude was similar to the previous week. Twenty-eight seismic events
were located, most of them offshore to the N of the island at depths of 15-24 km and with a maximum magnitude
of 2.8. Only one of these events was felt by residents at a maximum intensity value of II using EMS-98 (European
Macroseismic Scale). GPS data analyses showed stability in the horizontal components; the vertical component at
stations located on the S and NE parts of the island showed subsidence.
Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
During the weekend there have been fewer quakes, but then some of them as strong as 3.7 and 3.3.
Scientists suggest these were a result of rocks falling down inside the volcano (?), or that more
magma was trying to get up. However, it all happens deep down between 17 and 25 km below surface.
Friday, November 18th, 2011
Latest: 15.32 UTC new quake magnitude 3.7
Since the quake of magnitude 3.6 (three point six) yesterday, there have been 42 other quakes,
of which the strongest have been at 09:47 this morning of magnitude 2.9, and another,
also 2.9 at 11:55 at noon today.
What puzzles me is that two of the local news papers on the Canary Islands both could tell this morning
that yesterday showed 18 quakes, no stronger than 2.6 (two point six), and that the the activity was reduced.
So far, to day, at 14:00 local time, 32 quakes have occured, two of 2.9 on Richter scale.
Thursday, November 17th, 2011
Picture taken yesterday, Wednesday's helicopter Civil Lair. Courtesy Guardia Civil / non-tip
A quiet day, untill 16:25 UTC when a quake of magnitude 3.6 took place - as usual to northwest of Frontera.
Scientists now agree that if there will be no more strong quakes after the one last week of 4.6.
it should be possible to say that the volcano has calmed down 20 days later.
Scientists at the Oceanographic Vessel 'Ramon Margalef', the distance between the sea surface and the crater
of the volcanic cone is maintained at about 180 meters, "which rules out any explosive process at risk for people. "
Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
Still only few quakes, up to a magnitude of 3,1 on Richter scale.
Still the volcano keeps quiet, although there has been reports of steam coming up to the surface off La Restinga.
However, again we read in newspapers from far away that the residents of La Restinga were allowed
to go back home, after having been evacuated for a long time. But nothing about this in local newspapers (?).
El Hierro residents estimated that the crisis had cost them around 4 million euros in lost earnings from the
island's hotels, restaurants and diving schools, although business had picked up in recent days with increasing
numbers of people traveling in order to look at the volcano, as its underwater eruption was visible from the shore.
High temperatures were reflected from the surface manifestation (bubble zone) of the submarine eruption of El Hierro. Higher temperatures reflected in sea surface were recorded on 6, 7 and 8 November, reaching values ??of 30.9 ° C, 24.8 º C and 29.7 ° C.
Monday, November 14th, 2011
It has been a relatively quiet weekend, with few quakes, up to a magnitude of 3,1 on Richter scale.
This has been the way the 'volcano' has behaved so far - after a strong quake - a quiet periode - and then
again a strong quake. So what now?
Friday, November 11th, 2011
Now a web-cameras have been put up. Click here.
One camera points out toward the sea, where the bubbles have been seen,
the other with a view of the village, La Restinga.
However, a panel of scientists now predict the possibility of an eruption north west
of the island also, so we will have to wait for two more cameras,
or for more news to come.
Tablle shows from July up till now, accumulated energy down where the quakes originate, some 15-22 km
below sealevel, and at present NW of El Hierro - see map below.
Note the jump up that followed the strong quake yesterday night.
Something down there is really trying to come up. But the big question now is WHERE?
Quakes for the past three days, all NW of the island, in El Golfo.
Minutes after midnight there was an earthquake of magnitude 4.6, which was felt by the population,
even as far away as on the island of Tenerife.
Shortly afterwards there was another of 2.8 that could also be felt by the population. Later, at 5.30 of 3.1 degrees.
The earthquake of 4.6 degrees is the strongest of those in El Hierro since the eruption began.
As reported by the regional radio Pevolca, there have been landslides on a road in Frontera.
Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
Volcanoes are not easy to forecast, and that goes for this one also.
At noon it is reported that everything out in the ocean is quiet.
The sea is completely calm and the day is spectacular, with bright sunshine.
04:15 UTC today a quake 3.0 on Richter
22:58 last night 3.7
17:51 yesterday 3.4
all NW of Frontera.
Bubbling activity in the sea south of the island has increased, and sent material 25 m up into the air.
Number of quakes yesterday was 62 and Monday 64.
Accumullated energy below where the magma flows, is still increasing.
Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
The volcano of La Restinga has reawakened. Since early this morning there came strong boiling with rise and fall
of intensity every fifteen minutes or so. This event is visible from shore.l This activity follows an earthquake
at 04:58 at 2.8 on Richter scale. Another one at 09:06 at 2.8 and then at 11:07 3.5 on Richter.
Most of the recorded earthquakes occurred mainly northwest of Frontera, between 10 and 24 kilometers deep.
As the bubbling restarted again made this fact prompt many locals to think of the possibility that the volcano may
be more virulent the 11th, with a full moon phase.
Sunday, November 6th, 2011
The town La Restinga on the coast at left. Right: When quakes occur in El Golfo, Northwest of the Island,
gasses and some magma comes up south off La Restinga.
Last quakes listed as per Sunday at 19:35 UTC
Sunday 18:25 3.9 on Richter Scale
Saturday 09:44 3.9
Friday 20:36 4.4
Number of quakes last days:
Sunday /(till 19:35utc) 42
Evacues from La Restinga is allowed to visit their homes for maximum 1 hour a day,
and is transported by military busses.
Meanwhile everybody is awaiting to see what happens next.
Thursday, November 3rd, 2011
So far today, at 08:00 UTC (GMT) there are no more to report,
except to tell that the 4.4 quake yesterday, was the strongest so far since it all began in July.
To day military personell are setting up a camp for possible refugees, to take care of up to 1.200 persons.
The quakes are still so deep (25 km under surface) that scientists do not believe magma will come up yet.
See comments on Hudson volcano, where same happened a week ago.
Wednesday,November 2nd, 2011
As above picture shows, the accumulated energy under the 'new volcano' on El Hierro,
is again intensifying. The list shows the development since July 15th, with the upcoming of lava
and gasses around Oct. 5-10. Then a quiet periode until now recently.
Oct 24th 45 quakes, max 2.9 on Richter scale.
Oct 25th, similar but 2.7
Oct 26th, 45 quakes, max 3.1
Oct. 27th, 55 quakes, max 3.0
Oct. 28th, 63 quakes, max 3.3
Oct 29th, 62 quakes again, and max 3.6
Oct 30th, 93 quakes, max 3.9
Oct. 31st, 154 quakes, max 3.9
Nov.1st, 69 quakes, 3.9
Nov.2nd, 100 quakes, max 4.3 (at 07:55)
LATEST: 18.10 utc (gmt) 4.4 on Richter just outside Frontera in El Golfo
All quakes lately have occured in El Golfo, not south as recently.
The above picture shows quakes for the last three days.
Today an increase in CO2 is reported. Smoke has been seen south of La Restinga.
Authorities have updated plans for evacuation and follow the development closely.
We are again following the volcano on El Hierro closely.
Saturday, October 15th, 2011
Magma is still moving beneath the sea, but noone knows what will come. Pressure has been released
since gas has been coming up through the two new wents. But uncertainity to if any lava has come up yet.
Whole area in the sea is covered with a green mass which has to be analyzed.
Thursday, October 13th, 2011
Scitentists have now stated that there are two active wents, 3-5 kilometers off the coast of La Restinga,
from where lava is coming up into the sea. They hope to send down a submarine robot with cameras
to find out just what is going on.
The intensity and strength of last days quakes have been reduces, as shown on the picture above,
which show all quakes since July - with the highest number, 454, in one day around August 20th.
Since October 10th the activity has been very low.Since the end of September, the quakes have been
colored in red, indicating a magnitude of more than 2 on Richter Scale.
Tuesday, October 11th, 2011
17:00 UTC: About 60 inhabitants have been transferred to Valverde to a student house. Another 400 people
are now living with frineds or families elsewhere on the island. All maritim traffic is prohibited within 4 seamiles
off La Restinga. At present there are only journalists and rescuepersonell in the area.
16:00 UTC: Geologists are expecting stronger quakes between 4 and 5 on Richter scale, as magma is moving upward.
Since yesterday epi-centers have moved inland, and are now centered on top of the mountain ridge in the south.
Alertlevel has been raised from YELLOW to RED, and ferries to and from the island have been stopped.
List of latest quakes. Note that the newest onex all have been centered from the mountain ridge and southward.
About 700 inhabitants in the town of La Restinga have this afternoon been informed in a footballfield
outside the town, and are preparing for an immidiate evacuation in case of an eruption on land.
It is expected that many of them have to spend the night outside their homes, preferably in the footballfield.
At 15:45:37 UTC there was a quake SW of El Pinar, 2.7 on Richter
.It has now been expected that the pressure decreases, and so the
seismic activity. It is therefore also expected that
So far to day there have been some quakes off the coast, about 20 km out in El Golfo.
Size of the quakes have been between 2.0 and 3.6 on Richter scale.
Roquille tunnel has been closed a few days and such forces inhabitants in Frontera to go over the
mountains to get to Valverde. Also schools in the area are reported to have closed and left
some hundred pupils at home. This all because of risk for stronger quakes in the area.
Sunday, October 2nd, 2011
About midnight Friday to Saturday, 17 quakes occured, of which 6 were between 3.2 and 3.6 on Richter scale.
The magma is still trying to reach the surface, but is still probably 20 to 25 km under the surface.
The last few days the quakes have been situated off the coast, and not any longer near Julan, to where it moved
earlier after having started at sea. If the magma can not reach the surface out in the sea (may we see a new Island,
as Surtsey?), then it may return toward the coast again.
September 30, 2011
The pressure of the magma in the basement of El Hierro has not only meant that the island has been shaking more
than 8,600 times since mid-July, but has also domed, literally, 3.5 inches (10 cm) so far, according to data released today by National Geographic Institute (IGN).
As of this morning, El Hierro has experienced earthquake No.8613, but only 36 of the preceeding quakes have
been felt by the population. The maximum magnitude to date has been 3.8 degrees on the Richter scale.
The data collected by the various scientific stations scattered throughout El Hierro indicate that seismic activity
that has been submitted in the last hours is lower than which occurred last Tuesday, when the increase in frequency
and intensity of tremors forced evacuation of several houses located in the Frontera area, at risk of falling rocks.
For now, that scenario is not contemplated and the light volcanic risk remains at yellow ( the intermediate level). In addition, the seismic focus continues to move toward the Sea of Calm in the south of the island, and seems to have shifted to where the magma pressure, is so when an outbreak occur, it is possible that this could be underwater.
Only yesterday, Thursday, there were 148 earthquakes in El Hierro, eight of them felt by the population. Its maximum magnitude was 3.8 at the Richter scale .
News here is partly
based on the newspaper Canarias7