Report on Hierro (Spain) — 21 September-27 September 2011
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 21 September-27 September 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, 21 September-27 September 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 more than 900 new seismic events at Hierro during 20-26 September, five of them felt by residents. The maximum magnitude recorded was 3.4. The total number of located events had reached more than 8,100 since the anomalous activity began on 16 July. The rates of both GPS deformation and seismic energy release had significantly increased during the previous seven days. On 23 September, the Canarian Autonomous Government raised the Alert Code to Yellow.
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 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.