Report on Hierro (Spain) — 1 February-7 February 2012
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 February-7 February 2012
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2012. Report on Hierro (Spain). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 February-7 February 2012. 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 1-7 February the submarine eruption continued S of El Hierro Island. The amplitude of the tremor signal started to increase on 1 February around 0700, maintaining significant values until 6 February, when it dropped again to almost no signal. On 7 February the amplitude values increased for a few hours. Scarce emissions of lava fragments were observed over the vent area.
Fifty seismic events were registered during this period, most of them located in the central part of the island, with offshore events extending mainly to the S. Three of them were felt by residents, with a maximum intensity value of III (EMS-98). Depths of the hypocenters varied between 6 and 23 km, and magnitudes between 0.6 and 3.2.
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.