Special report: New eruption vent (or vents) might have opened up in El Hierro volcano eruption

The current tremor data now suggests that a new vent or vents have opened or are about to open up just outside north-west coast of El Hierro volcano. The depth where the main earthquakes have been taking place is about 100 to 300 meters (but might be more). So far the largest earthquakes to take place in this area was a ML3.9 with the depth of 22 km. What is important in this is not the fact that the earthquakes are at great depth. But also the fact that a more shallow might not take place. As that was not the case when the eruption started in El Hierro on 10 October, 2011. It is unlikely that there is going to be any shallow earthquake activity before a new eruption vents opens up. As that was not the case on the 10 October, 2011 from what I can remember.

Current harmonic tremor in El Hierro. So far there has not been much change in harmonic tremor as can be seen here. But that can change without warning. Copyright of this picture belongs to Instituto Geográfico Nacional.

I am not sure how strong earthquake this area can make. But I am guessing that it might well be in the upper Mb5.5+ range. The earthquakes that are now taking place are due to magma injection. Not a tectonic one. There is a difference between the two. But this rifting in El Hierro might trigger a earthquake close to El Hierro Island in near future, that earthquake would be a tectonic one. Not a earthquake created by magma movements.

So far the new vents are still unconfirmed. But there are signs in the harmonic tremor data that new eruption vents might be opening up or have already opened up. But at this moment I am waiting for a confirmation on this actually taking place. That is going to take a few hours, given the experience so far.

654 Replies to “Special report: New eruption vent (or vents) might have opened up in El Hierro volcano eruption”

  1. From earthquake.report.com

    Important update 01/11 – 08:19 UTC
    – Scientists have found large smoking lava in the Las Calmas sea in front of La Restinga (earlier jacuzzi area).
    – It is hard to believe that we still do not have a webcam (and/or time lapse camera) directed on the stain. Such a camera would not only be great for us followers, but also for science. The Sakurajima volcano is a good example for the results.
    – The currently installed webcam @ Frontera should be directed towards the El Golfo Bay during the current events.
    – The University of Cadiz has said that the deformation is decreasing in the south because of the eruption and is gradually increasing in the El Golfo area (earthquake area). The university of Cadiz is cannot rule out a possible eruption in the Frontera bay area (ER: nobody can rule out anything at the moment. All instances are making their best guess, a volcano is unpredictable as where and when he/she will erupt. A major earthquake (M 4.5 to 5.5) may put events in a final direction or it may simple stop suddenly.)
    – Yesterday was the most seismic active since October 8 – 153 earthquakes were counted and 6 were greater than M 3
    – Today a new 3.9 magnitude quake was felt at 04:15 UTC. 2 quakes were greater or equal to M 3
    – a stronger harmonic tremor has been recorded since 07:00 this morning (see below at the end of the graphic).

    1. Judith-As noted previously from this and other blogs the reception of the seismo gear has been attenuated so that they could get fixes on the quakes. Before that it was the GPS gear that was showing most of the activity.

      Three days ago I said that a new vent likely had opened, as did Jon and quite a few others. The spikes are really nothing more than bigger quakes but the saturation level indicates that something is really starting to crank up. The local officials have their hands full but yes, thats likely a new eruption and something stronger in the 3-4.0 range.

      Carl S. said that the plume was a vortex wraparound of the point on the SW side of the island and now its well out into the water to the west of the island. Too far in my opinion to be remotely close to being a vortex. The overflight shows that pretty well as its clearing the plume to the S/SW.

      Satellites today show the green sulfurous water from one end of the island to the other in quantity and they have an overflight looking back into the bay (La Calmas) towards Restinga. The current remains from the N/NW at 4 kts. The winds are from the NW at 1 mph. Basically dead calm. So very difficult to confirm a current vortex there without something to cause it like the wind.

      With all that said and the statement that the vent near La Restinga subsiding a bit makes me think that there is another vent, on the SW end of the island about 2-3 miles out to sea. Remember that is a rift area and look where the supposed first eruption occured… Right on the east corner of the rift. Now we have a likely vent on the west.

      If its another eruption and its my opinion that it is simply because of that plume, then its going to likely increase. Its the possibility of a large quake that gets me because of the overburden on the hills. If it dropped in and only caused a local 20 footer it would take them in minutes. Longer reaching is of course the US and South America.

  2. The earthquakes have dropped off. So it is my guess that the magma has found a clear path to the surface somewhere. But where is a good question at this moment.

    1. Someone in Facebook says:
      “Parece ser que ha aparecido una mancha en el extremo NE del Golfo. Delante del Roque Salmor ”

      “acaba de pasar una ráfaga de ese olor que ha mencionado AVCAN que pudieramos llegar a sentir ‘olor huevo podrido’… estando yo en la cocina y afinando mi nariz para confirmar lo que estaba oliendo, entró mi hija (de 14 años) tapándose la nariz y diciendo ‘mami ¿ qué diablos le dan de comer a ese volcán?’…”
      The tremor is up..
      All since last quake at 6:50 UTC.

      1. In English (my translation of the Facebook texts in Spanish – no guarantees):
        “There seems to have appeared a plume in the extreme NE of El Golfo. In front of Roque Salmor.”

        ”.. there was just passing by a burst of this smell mentioned by AVCAN which we can begin to identify as “rotten eggs smell” … I was in my kitchen and tuned my nose to confirm what I was smelling, when my daughter came in (14 years old) who covered her nose and said to me: “What in the name of … are they giving this volcano to eat?” …

  3. Hi Son,
    The video does not show a grey muddy eruption area at El Golfo, so i think we are seeing the La Restinga stain carried by the current. Why is this video so short ?

    1. Es lo que ha subido el usuario que ha dado el aviso. No sé porque no ha puesto más, igual no pudo pasar más por encima..
      Él ha dicho que aunque no sabe seguro si es la mancha vieja o una nueva, lo que sí ha comprobado es que era ‘mucho mas densa’.
      Desde tierra, confirman que es visible y que, aunque en el Golfo es visible la mancha nacida en La Restinga, esa mancha antigua esta muy diluida y es poco visible.

      Puede ser una concentración debida a corrientes.. o puede ser una mancha nueva. De momento no se puede confirmar.

      1. Raymond Matabosch, the Frenchmen, just has ended me a picture from the new vent at El Hierro – he expects “events” the next 36 hours (like Jon btw)
        Update is online at ER

  4. Something very strange happened on the EGOM seismograph between 13.10 and 13.30. A quite big very long period event.

    1. The event has a period of about 40 seconds and appears on the other island records as well. Its as though the whole area swayed slowly and minutely for 20 minutes.

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