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Report on Hierro (Spain) — 16 November-22 November 2011


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 16 November-22 November 2011
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2011. Report on Hierro (Spain) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 16 November-22 November 2011. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (16 November-22 November 2011)



27.73°N, 18.03°W; summit elev. 1500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN) reported that during 16-22 November the submarine eruption continued S of El Hierro Island. During this period, the amplitude of the tremor showed two rapid changes, a decrease in amplitude at 2200 on 17 November and an increase at 1710 on 19 November. Seismic amplitudes decreased between late 20 November and mid-day on 21 November, and then remained stable at values similar to those noted during 19-25 October. Superficial activity over the emission center was rare, characterized by alternating days without seawater discoloration and days where there was minor gas and tephra content in the water and persistent discoloration.

During the period, 200 seismic events were located, most of them offshore to the N of the island at depths of 16-23 km and a maximum magnitude of 3.7. Seventeen of these events were felt by residents at a maximum intensity value of III using EMS-98 (European Macroseismic Scale). GPS data analyses showed little deformation in the horizontal components, while in the vertical component stations located in the N of the island showed uplift and the rest showed subsidence.

Geological Summary. 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 S 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 eruption in 1793. A submarine eruption took place about 2 km SSW off the southern point of the island during 2011-12.

Source: Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN)