Report on Hierro (Spain) — 7 December-13 December 2011
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 7 December-13 December 2011
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2011. Report on Hierro (Spain). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 7 December-13 December 2011. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
27.73°N, 18.03°W; summit elev. 1500 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN) reported that during 7-13 December the submarine eruption continued S of El Hierro Island, with steaming lava fragments sporadically observed floating on the sea. During this period, the mean tremor amplitude oscillated between decreasing and increasing trends during the first days of the week, and since 10 December high-amplitude pulses occurred every 5-10 minutes.
Only seven seismic events were located during this period, most of them offshore to the N of the island at depths of 17-23 km and with a maximum magnitude of 2.0. GPS data analyses showed stability in the horizontal components and trends to deflation in the vertical component.
Geologic Background. The triangular island of Hierro is the SW-most and least studied of the Canary Islands. The massive 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 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.