El Hierro volcanic activity continues to increase. Harmonic tremors that usually precede an eruption have been recorded, a new island just offshore has been forming, and a flank collapse could occur and possibly generate a tsunami. These harmonic tremors are getting stronger and stronger. This news is also associated with some strong graphic bulges that are not earthquakes and have not been explained so far by seismologists, but may be associated with the dynamics of pressure impacts from recent solar activity.
A Red Alert now in effect. Some scientists believe a major eruption is imminent. Poisonous gas emissions are rising. A milky green plume in the water stretches 25-30 kilometers at its widest and perhaps 100 kilometers long, from a large mass near the coast to thin tendrils as it spreads to the southwest. The plume is likely a mix of volcanic gases and a blend of crushed pumice and seafloor rock.
This October 27th photo from space shows air and water plumes. Recently obtained lava samples indicate the possibility of an explosive eruption.
Diario El Hierro writes that the analysis of the recently found lava stones found in the Las Calmas sea, reveals they are of a type associated with major explosive characteristics which may indicate an explosive eruption is eminent. The University of Barcelona analyzed the samples said that they found these recovered lava samples were NOT of the Surtseynian type, which would have represented the kind of eruption everybody expected so far. A 2011 scientific paper provides a brief review of a newly discovered catastrophic landslide deposit in Tenerife. One of the most intriguing but poorly understood landslide types is that of the volcanic flank collapse. In a volcanic flank collapse, the side of a volcano fails, usually catastrophically, generating a landslide. These slides can be really big – tens or even hundreds of cubic kilometers – and they can travel huge distances along the sea floor. Remember the videos of Mount St. Helens eruption and imagine if Mt. St. Helens was an island.
On Oct. 9, 2011, an underwater volcano started to emerge in waters off El Hierro Island in the Canaries, Spain. Researchers of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO, Ministry of Science and Innovation) only needed 15 days to map its formation in high resolution. The volcanic cone has reached a height of 100 m and the lava tongue flows down its side, even though its activity has slowed down in the past few days. It was initially hoped that this undersea eruptive phase would have released pressure on the magma flow, but this does not seem to be what is actually happening.
East Coasters, please do not over-react to this information, but on the other hand stay very alert. It is still a mystery to us that Spanish authorities and the Ministry of Science have not had the assistance of those nations that have satellite assets that could further help determine the status of the situation, such as the REDEYE or IR and magnetic emissions assets that could assist in determining the real nature of the current situation. USGS staff was challenged on this very issue last week and the response was they have specifically not reported on the El Heirro situation because people do not have the comprehension of the real situation and would over-react and panic. So we will continue to report to the best of our resources.