Yellow Alert for El Heirro Continues! East Coast Stay Alert

El Heirro is continuing to show activity and the escarpment is showing signs of instability. folks on the East Coast should continue to monitor this situation very closely. Remember if a tsunami is generated there will only be a 6-8 hour window to get to high ground. If this were to occur during the wee hours of the morning, there would even be less time to respond. Seismic activity continues in a small swarming pattern.

1-01 13:23 UTC
Renewed increasing tremor is visible in the El Golfo area (TAB en TAN seismographs). Remember that we mentioned this morning  that HI04 Sabinosa area GPS station had an increase of at least 2 cm during the last 24 hours.

2014-01-01 10:44 UTC
4 earthquakes since our latest update. The M2.1 at 3 km depth earthquake was located to the south of La Restinga in the Las Calmas sea
Ecxept for the HI04 GPS (Sabinosa) who shows a lifting of 2 cm, almost all the other stations stabilizes based on the new IGN deformation data.
Link to graph of HI00; HI08, HI09 and HI10
Link to graph of HI01, FRON, HI02, HI03 and HI04

Screen Shot 2014-01-01 at 11.41.18

Stay Alert!

Yellow Alert – El Heirro is Active

As it is our policy to keep you informed, it seems our old friend El Heirro is threatening to reawake. The concern here is if El Heirro has a significant quake causing a massive landslide, the East Coast of the US could experience a significant tsunami of 10-30M and with only a 6-8 hours notice.

Two years after a new underwater volcano appeared offshore of El Hierro in the Canary Islands, earthquake swarms and a sudden change in height suggest a new eruption is brewing near the island’s villages, officials announced Friday (Dec. 27).

el heirro 6 Nov

After the announcement, one of the largest temblors ever recorded at the volcanic island, a magnitude-5.1 earthquake, struck offshore of El Hierro at 12:46 p.m. ET (5:46 p.m. local time) Friday,December 27, 2013, the National Geographic Institute reported. Residents on the island reported strong shaking, and the quake was felt throughout the Canary Islands, according to news reports. The earthquake’s epicenter was 9 miles (15 kilometers) deep.

Before the earthquake struck early Friday afternoon, the island’s volcano monitoring agency, Pelvolca, had raised the volcanic eruption risk for El Hierro to “yellow.” This warning means that activity is increasing at the volcano, but no eruption is imminent. A similar burst of activity prompted a yellow warning in June 2012, but the volcano soon quieted down.

Parts of El Hierro have swelled nearly 3 inches (7 centimeters) in the past week, with the growth centered between El Pinar and La Restinga, according to Involcan, the Volcanological Institute of the Canaries.

More than 550 earthquakes rattled the island between Monday and Wednesday, also centered on La Restinga. About 30 of the earthquakes were greater than magnitude 3, Involcan said. The earthquakes are triggered by magma rising underground, fracturing rocks and swelling the surface as the hot rock reaches upward. “The earthquake swarm corresponds to a new magmatic intrusion,” Involcan said Friday morning in a statement.

Friday’s preliminary magnitude-5.1 earthquake was on the opposite side of the island from the ongoing swarm.

Our concern is that MSM is not reporting this and our USGS site has only reported the 5.4 quake that occurred today. So heads up East Coasters and let everyone you know what is going on. Pay close attention for the next few days and be aware of what is going on in La Palma.  You can monitor activity closely at European Seismology Center and monitor for a tsunami at Atlantic Tsunami Warning Center. As always make sure you have your bug-out bag at the ready and your evacuation route well planned. Since there is such a high density population on the East Coast, the sooner you are aware, the more likely you will get to high ground in time.

To be clear here, we are not saying a large quake is eminent or that a tsunami will be generated. What we are saying is earthquakes have been swarming and growing in intensity. It is time to pay close attention as the potential for a large quake with a resultant tsunami has significantly increased in the last 48 hours.

El Heirro Update – Crisis Seems to be Abating

This is just a quick update.  The activities in La Palma seem to be subsiding.  Only 9 quakes today and the FARO data seems to indicate that lava flow and deformation haven’t occurred in any significant manner in the last 48 hours.  Based on this information, it would seem the potential eruption and associated tsunami seems to be abating.  We will continue to monitor closely, but for now we can relax a bit.

El Heirro Update – Activity is Increasing! Stay Alert!

Activity over the last 48 hours has increased significantly both in frequency and intensity of earthquakes.  The FARO data is also suggesting increased deformation.  Please pay close attention East Coasters. Here is a recap diary of the most recent activity.

el Heirro3_29_13

2013-03-29 16:16 UTC
– A very powerful earthquake has been reported from El Hierro so far.
– People at the island told Julio that this felt as being the strongest so far
– Rockfall has been reported in different places.

2013-03-29 13:11 UTC
Pevolca has met and says in essence what we have been telling all day.
– As seismicity is still at a safe distance from the coast (what is safe ?) no other protective measures should be taken (see earlier Pevolca report for the initial measures below).
– Pevolca also confirms that the seismic activity is moving the the South-West. ER would call it South
– The strong earthquakes are continuing at a high frequency at the time of writing

2013-03-29 11:17 UTC

Impressive seismic activity
– The released energy since the start of this crisis has surpassed the total energy released during the initial eruptive crisis in 2011
– So far today (11 hours) we have counted 51 M3+ earthquakes
– 8 M4+ earthquake – 4 of which have been felt by the people (in fact everything has been felt, but people do not report it anymore). The strongest ones have also been felt at the neighboring islands like La Palma
– Remember the words of local seismologists/volcanologists shortly after the start of this crisis “this crisis will not last long as the feeding source does not have enough energy”. This remark is not meant to be offensive to those scientists, only that we have to be humble when we talk about the unknown aspects of nature.

elheirroseismic3_29

 

2013-03-29 11:00 UTC
– Relatively calm period at this moment
– The seabed depth of the current seismic activity is +2000 meter (+6000 ft) = safe + weakening the shaking impact

2013-03-29 09:42 UTC
– The strong M4.6 earthquake had his epicenter at approx. 6 km out of the coast (thats closer than previous strong earthquakes).
– Hypocenters show a tendency to become shallower again (17 km), with a few shallower ones.
– The seismic active area is still below a relatively flat seabed but the distance to the submarine volcanic hills is gradually decreasing.

2013-03-29 09:07 UTC
– Strong events are following each other up at a high rate today.

elheirroseisgraph3_29

2013-03-29 08:58 UTC
– The volcano does not give up so far. He continues to shake the greater epicenter area and some of these quakes can even be felt at other islands.
– 64 earthquakes listed by IGN so far (they only list the stronger ones now – the real number today must run already into the hundreds)
– Strongest earthquake so far today : M4.3 (initially quoted as M4.6)
– The hypocenters are again in the 20 km layer (like the crisis in mid-2012)
– Deformation is further increasing. The images below are from the Lighthouse GPS station (also western part of the island)
– Epicenters are a little more to the south today, which may explain the deeper hypocenters. Still far enough out of the coast to weaken the earthquake impact on the island. Red bullets are very shallow earthquakes. The red bullet in the Las Calmas sea is erroneous BUT we take special interest in the 2 shallow earthquakes below the South-Western coast of the island. They have been calculated at M2.0 and M2.2, strange … As these quakes are far away from the seismic area it looks to us that these are earthquakes which have been triggered by the deformation of the island. IGN (with a lot more data) will certainly know what is exactly was.
– The strong action is still continuing.

We will update as warranted.

 

Pay Attention, USGS is not!, El Heirro Update

As we continue the monitor the situation in La Palma, What really struck us this morning is that USGS is not even showing ANY activity in the Canary Islands. We witnessed this the last time El Heirro was grumbling, NOTHING from USGS.  Here is the latest screenshot from the USGS EQ site, and as you will notice, even though they are supposed to be reporting and showing every quake over 2.5M, there are NO quakes showing in the Canary Islands.

usgs EQ 25 mar 13

UPDATE- El Heirro – March 25, 2013 – 10:00PST

The activity continues and is growing in both magnitude and frequency of harmonic quakes. You can monitor the situation closely at El Heirro Monitoring.  The likelihood of a new submarine eruption in the near future is increasing. Earthquakes and pulsating strong tremor continued with little changes, indicators of magma intruding into new dikes in the western rift zone. There is also a trend towards stronger quakes (about 20 magnitude 3+ events including a M4 this morning) and shallower earthquakes (many at around 11-12 km depth today). This suggests that magma is slowly breaking pathways upwards, i.e. towards the seafloor. The area has remained about 5 km off shore NW from the western tip of the island, ie. under the submarine prolongation of the volcano’s western rift zone. This is where now a new eruption should be expected, if the magma does not decide to migrate laterally once again.

quakes-el-hierro-250313-list.png (2)

So keep close watch if you are on the East Coast.  We have received questions about “how bad would it be if the worst case scenario would unfold. Our best guess, and it is a guess, is that a tsunami of 150’ could impact the east coast, with Florida and Georgia feeling the greatest impacts.  So to answer the question of where do you go and when, getting to elevations above 500’ ASL should minimize the danger. If the western face of El Heirro would suddenly calve as a part of an eruption, East Coasters may have 8 hours to act. The real concern we have is how fast MSM would report such an event, which could lose precious evacuation time, and at what time the event would occur. For example, if the eruption occurred at 12 AM or very early morning, people may simply not be aware the event occurred.

The situation remains Yellow, keep close watch.  You can also monitor real time EQ activity here, since USGS chooses not to even consider the danger.

EMSC-CSEM Earthquake Monitoring

More as we get it.

Eruption of the El Hierro Volcano in the Canary Islands? Heads Up East Coast

As we continue monitoring seismic events globally, we on occasion feel there is enough “unusual” activity to issue watches for potentially impacted areas.  Traditionally one of our greatest concerns is the La Palma volcano in the Canary Islands because of a very large risk that such an eruption would generate a potentially dangerous tsunami that would effect the entire east coast and doe so with less than 8 hours notice.

Such events are now occurring. In fact, there is now a Red Alert and evacuations going on in La Restinga .  Check out the map above of recent seismic activity in the area. There have been 155 earthquakes above magnitude 2 today (Saturday) alone. The seismic swarm continues with even increasing intensity, as to both the average magnitude and frequency of earthquakes, as well as amplitude of harmonic volcanic tremor which is oscillating between higher and lower phases. This might correspond to some sort of “stop and go” behavior of magma moving its way through new cracks in the lower crust beneath the island. The location of the epicenters of quakes, the presumed location of the current magma intrusions, is now about 5 km NW of the western tip of the island, and at depths between 10-17 km. No strong upwards trend is yet visible, but this could change quickly.
Today’s earthquake count so far:
– 155 earthquakes > mag 2
– including 15 between M3-3.5

Eventos_HIERRO_2D_31 (1)

Earthquakes continue with increasing magnitudes

Update Sat 23 Mar 16:41

The scenario of an eruption in the near future is becoming increasingly likely:
– Volcanic tremor continues, suggesting magma is still moving although mostly laterally for the time being to an area just north off the western tip of the island.
– Earthquakes continue at high frequency and increasing magnitudes (more than 90 quakes above magnitude 2, including 8 of magnitudes 3-3.5 so far today). Their epicenters have remained at 14-16 km depth mostly, with some shallower events as well.
– Deformation of the western part of the island continues to increase, with vertical uplift reaching about 5 cm on some stations in the westernmost part of the island. 

Again folks on the East Coast should pay attention over the next few days.  Check those bug out bags and remember the sooner you get to go the more likely you will get to safety.  If any changes occur we will post them as soon as possible.  this would reflect to a condition Yellow.

El Heirro Situation Update and Yellow Alert for the East Coast.

In our continuing effort to monitor geo-physical conditions that could affect us we must once again elevate the alert for a potential East Coast tsunami related to a potential of a major eruption of El Heirro. This is not to say an eruption is eminent, however both the presence of multiple HARMONIC quakes and rapid island bulging indicates that El Heirro is not as stable as previously thought.

It has been a few months now since the eruption at El Hierro in the Canary Islands was declared “over”. There may be some passive degassing on the seafloor from the new vent that formed at depth to the south of the island, but things had settled down. Even the people of Restinga were putting the eruption in the past, with both webcams taken offline and the guarantee of €600,000 (~$750,000) from the government to aid fishermen whose livelihoods had been altered by the closed fisheries. However, with any active volcano, it can be difficult to predict when exactly an eruptive cycle is truly done.

However starting late last week, seismicity under the island has resumed and its manifestation is very similar to what we saw last summer during the lead up to the eruption of El Hierro in October 2011. Over 50 earthquakes have been recorded at El Hierro, some as large as ~M3.5 and AVCAN thinks that the new seismicity suggests that magma is moving in the same conduits as the fall 2011 activity. The earthquakes are, as of June 23, were still deep – upwards of 15-25 km below the surface. This likely supports the idea that there is new magma entering the El Hierro system at depth. Now, last summer it took months of constant seismicity before we saw any surface manifestation (the submarine vent at ~88 meters depth), so we may not know if this new intrusion of magma will lead to new eruptions until the fall.

Then by last Monday, June 25th, the unusually strong earthquake swarm under El Hierro Island continued, harmonic volcanic tremor had reappeared short time ago at about 16h10 UTC. The tremor, a low-frequency ground vibration, is thought to be caused by moving magma. It had been strong last Sunday and Monday and correlated well with a southward propagation of earthquake locations, suggesting that magma at about 20 km depth flew from underneath the El Golfo area towards the EL Julan (south) coast, in a similar way as before the Oct 2011 eruption, but became blocked there, and did not reach the southern rift zone near La Restinga. After the cease of tremor in the afternoon, earthquakes still continued at high rate, marking a record figure with over 180 quakes larger than M2 Sunday alone, and more than 150 quakes larger than M1.5 on Monday. In other words, pressure continued to cause wide-spread rock fracturing underground and cause small intrusions of fluids. Now, the re-appearance of tremor could mean that magma is moving again somewhere underneath the island. Where to and whether or not it might reach the surface and initiate a new eruption is difficult to know at the moment. It is essential to continue to monitor location and magnitude of earthquakes.

AS of Friday, following days of almost continual earthquakes, residents of the small Canary island of El Hierro are once again living in fear of a volcanic eruption as their island begins to lift. According to the National Geographic Institute of Spain, increases in seismic activity on the island has seen literally hundreds of earthquakes, known as a swarm, shaking the island and gradually increasing in strength since June 25. Around 750 earthquakes have been recorded although few have been strong enough to be felt by the residents until the last two days The island has been placed on yellow alert by the security committee in charge of operations as the earthquakes increase. The largest so far was registered at 4.0 on the Richter scale on Wednesday June 27. More frightening for the approximately 10,000 residents is the fact that a bulge has developed in the island, lifting it five centimetres in four days. Whereas the volcanic activity of 2011 was based out at sea, this time the magma appears to be forming right underneath the island and the pressure is building. Scientists on the island are using the position of the earthquake epicentres to try and work out where the magma from the volcano will come to the surface.The longer it takes to find a vent, the more the pressure from the magma will grow and the larger any possible eruption is likely to be.

Earthquake Report says that PEVOLCA (Civil Protection from Volcanic Risk) has said that there is an acceleration in the flow of magma, with a “clear process of inflation”. As reported by Digital Journal on June 25, the island suffered serious seismic activity last year, resulting in an undersea volcanic cone as can be seen in the video. However, over time, the activity died down and it was thought by experts that was the end of the event. The research vessel ‘Hesperides’ which had been investigating went home and the live cameras were turned off. Now the ‘Hesperides’ is hurrying back to the island but the cameras have not as yet been turned back on. The website Decoded Science, in an article by Jennifer Young, explains how magma chambers work and how scientists are processing information from volcanoes to learn more about predicting possible eruptions. It is this activity that the scientists on the ‘Hesperides’, in conjunction with those on the island itself, will be studying in an effort to try and predict if and when the volcano under El Hierro will erupt. Official reports have been few and far between and the Spanish media has concentrated rather more on the football and the economy than the volcano growing under one of Spain’s most popular holiday destinations, just as the season gets into full swing.

Situation Update #9 El Heirro and New Solar Activity

Last Thursday the sun produced an X1.9 rated solar flare that narrowly missed Earth. Although it wasn’t aimed directly at us, about 45 minutes after leaving the sun it was still powerful enough to disrupt radio communications.  Now, that same area responsible for producing the X-class flare may pose a direct threat to Earth.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center says that the region on the sun known as AR11339 and affectionately called the “Benevolent Monster” will set its sights on Earth. It will move into a position that poses the largest risk to our planet around November 9th, 2011 and remain on a direct line of sight with earth for the following two (2) weeks as it rotates.  Scientists at the Federal Space Weather Prediction Center say that area is the most active part of the sun since 2005. It has dozens of sunspots, including one that is the size of 17 Earths.

Federal Space Weather Prediction Center space scientist Joe Kunches said during an interview, “It’s still growing. The size is what blows me away.” Thursday’s flare wasn’t aimed at Earth. However, this active region is now slowly turning toward Earth, and scientists say it will be directly facing Earth in about five days.

That storm region will only affect Earth if it shoots off flares and they hit our planet, which doesn’t always happen with stormy areas, said Kunches.  The region will be facing Earth for about two weeks as it rotates, he said.

For the past several years, the sun has been at a quiet end of its cycle and only recently has gotten more active. Solar cycles go in 11-year period. This cycle has had fewer storms than usual for this time in its cycle. But that may be changing.

Our biggest concern is with food and it will not necessarily be because of a lack of refrigeration, but an inability of our current just-in-time delivery systems to transport goods. A strong enough flare could potentially knock out the electrical components in the trucks that transport our food, the computers used to manage the inventory, and the ability for businesses to transfers payments to and from each other.

If the electrical grid in the United States were to be taken out by a solar flare we can expect months, not days, of downtime. In 1859 the fall out was limited to telegraph systems, because those were really the only electrical components of any significance.  Today, our entire world is intertwined by electricity, satellites, routers, switches and computers. Even a minor disruption to some of the components, like our GPS networks, could wreck havoc.

The problem begins with the electric power grid. “Electric power is modern society’s cornerstone technology on which virtually all other infrastructures and services depend,” the report notes. Yet it is particularly vulnerable to bad space weather. Ground currents induced during geomagnetic storms can actually melt the copper windings of transformers at the heart of many power distribution systems. Sprawling power lines act like antennas, picking up the currents and spreading the problem over a wide area. The most famous geomagnetic power outage happened during a space storm in March 1989 when six million people in Quebec lost power for 9 hours.

According to the report, power grids may be more vulnerable than ever. The problem is interconnectedness. In recent years, utilities have joined grids together to allow long-distance transmission of low-cost power to areas of sudden demand. On a hot summer day in California, for instance, people in Los Angeles might be running their air conditioners on power routed from Oregon. It makes economic sense” but not necessarily geomagnetic sense. Interconnectedness makes the system susceptible to wide-ranging “cascade failures.”

To estimate the scale of such a failure, report co-author John Kappenmann of the Metatech Corporation looked at the great geomagnetic storm of May 1921, which produced ground currents as much as ten times stronger than the 1989 Quebec storm, and modeled its effect on the modern power grid. He found more than 350 transformers at risk of permanent damage and 130 million people without power. The loss of electricity would ripple across the social infrastructure with “water distribution affected within several hours; perishable foods and medications lost in 12-24 hours; loss of heating/air conditioning, sewage disposal, phone service, fuel re-supply and so on.”

Power outages would be accompanied by radio blackouts and satellite malfunctions; telecommunications, GPS navigation, banking and finance, and transportation would all be affected. Some problems would correct themselves with the fading of the storm: radio and GPS transmissions could come back online fairly quickly. Other problems would be lasting: a burnt-out multi-ton transformer, for instance, can take weeks or months to repair. The total economic impact in the first year alone could reach $2 trillion, some 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina or, to use a timelier example, a few TARPs.

Given these facts, and given the current real time conditions on the solar surface we are recommending everyone pay attention and go over those food and water supplies one more time.

Canary Island – El Heirro Update.  Status remains red. Jacuzzi venting continues and has become more vigorous over the last 36 hours.  Two beaches were closed today because of toxic level of gaseous emissions from venting.  Two strong earthquakes were recorded today.

East Coasters should continue to monitor Earthquake Report El-Heirro for real time information.

Addendum Situation Update #8

East Coasters need to monitor this site now.  http://earthquake-report.com/2011/09/25/el-hierro-canary-islands-spain-volcanic-risk-alert-increased-to-yellow/

Seismic activity> than 4.0 and shallow to 10km, venting, and undersea eruptions are increasing.

Warning- Situation Update #8 – El Heirro is Now Red Alert Status

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.