More Activity at El Hierro

Signs of second eruption off coast of El Hierro   2011-10-31 20:54:10

MADRID, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) — A second volcanic eruption off the coast of the island of El Hierro could be on the point of happening, scientists warned.

The warning came just over a week after the end of the first eruption, which forced a village on the island to be evacuated.

The offshore eruption began at a depth of over 100 meters below sea level on Oct. 10 off the southern coast of El Hierro, the smallest and most westerly of the Canary Islands, a group of islands off the western coast of Africa, which are governed by Spain.

It led to the creation of a stain caused by emissions of sulphur, pumice stone and magma which extended beyond El Hierro.

Although the first eruption died down and seismic activity began to fade, it has gained momentum again in recent days with El Hierro suffering over 120 earth tremors with the strongest reaching 3.9 on the Richter scale on Sunday.

In contrast to the first eruption, there are signs that a second eruption could happen off the northern coast of El Hierro.

Experts have met with government members of the Canary Islands to discuss the new developments. Although no new measures will be taken for the moment to evacuate the population from areas closest to a possible eruption site, the authorities will maintain their close observation of the area.

“What is happening in el Hierro has a lot of questions that still need answers. The movements have been changing their location and we need to continue studying the process to find conclusions,” explained volcanologist Nemesio Perez to Spain’s national broadcaster RTVE.

“What we do know is that there is activity with magma and this chapter has still not been closed,” he said.