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 – 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.



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.


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.