El Heirro Status Remains Yellow – Deformation Continues.


On the night of 24 June, a M 3.1 earthquake occurred offshore N of El Hierro island at a depth of 20 km. After that event, both the seismic activity and the deformation greatly increased. The seismicity, initially located N of the island in the El Golfo area, migrated S, then later to the W, along the E-W rift zone. On 27 June, the Plan de Protección Civil por Riesgo Volcánico (PEVOLCA) raised the Alert Level to Yellow (on a three-color, traffic-light scale) for areas near El Julan (along the SW coast) and La Dehesa; The Alert Level remained at Green for the rest of the island.

On 28 June, seismicity migrated to the SW in Las Calmas Sea and remained SW of the island, mainly offshore, until 3 July. The depth of the events was concentrated around 20 km. Since 24 June, more than 1,500 events have been located, and more than 250 of those events were M 2.7 and higher and often felt by residents. The biggest event was a M 4.4 that occurred on 2 July at 2242, located offshore SW the island, at 19 km depth. High deformation rates were measured by every GPS station on the island, reaching 8 cm in the horizontal component and about 10 cm of vertical displacement.

WHY THE CONCERN:

El Heirro represents the biggest threat of an East Coast tsunami, which could occur with less than 8 hours notice.  The last documented eruption was 550 BC and the resultant tsunami was devastating to the east coast.  There was also a questionable eruption in 1793, but documentation of that eruption is somewhat sketchy.  The NW facing 1500 m escarpment is the major concern and El Hierro is definitely due for a major eruption and for the second time in less than a year, is showing an inclination to erupt.

Geologic Summary. 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.

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.

East Coast residence are all focused on the tremendous heat and power loss at the moment and I understand hearing about a potential tsunami is the last thing you want to hear, but this is a potential reality and you should pay close attention at least for the next few weeks.

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Author: redhawk500

International business consultant, author, blogger, and student of life. After 35 years in business, trying to wake the world to a new reality. One of prosperity, abundance, and most importantly equal opportunity. it's time to redistribute wealth and power.

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