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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Canary Islands, El Hierro Waking up, Increasing


Seismic unrest at El Hierro Island (Canary Islands) in 2011-13: updates


Earthquakes increasing in frequency and magnitude
Update Sat 23 Mar 22:44
Current tremor signal (IGN)
Current tremor signal (IGN)
Depth vs time of today's quakes under El Hierro
Depth vs time of today's quakes under El Hierro
The seismic swarm continues with even increasing intensity, as to both the average magnitude and frequency of earthquakes, as well as amplitude of harmonic volcanic tremor which is oscillating between higher and lower phases. This might correspond to some sort of "stop and go" behavior of magma moving its way through new cracks in the lower crust beneath the island. The location of the epicenters of quakes, the presumed location of the current magma intrusions, is now about 5 km NW of the western tip of the island, and at depths between 10-17 km. No strong upwards trend is yet visible, but this could change quickly. 
Today's earthquake count so far: 
- 155 earthquakes > mag 2 
- including 15 between M3-3.5

Earthquakes continue with increasing magnitudes
Update Sat 23 Mar 16:41

Map of recent earthquakes at El Hierro (IGN)
Map of recent earthquakes at El Hierro (IGN)
Current tremor signal (IGN)
Current tremor signal (IGN)
Deformation measured at GPS stations 3-5 (in the western part of the island)
Deformation measured at GPS stations 3-5 (in the western part of the island)
The scenario of an eruption in the near future is becoming increasingly likely: 
- Volcanic tremor continues, suggesting magma is still moving although mostly laterally for the time being to an area just north off the western tip of the island. 
- Earthquakes continue at high frequency and increasing magnitudes (more than 90 quakes above magnitude 2, including 8 of magnitudes 3-3.5 so far today). Their epicenters have remained at 14-16 km depth mostly, with some shallower events as well. 
- Deformation of the western part of the island continues to increase, with vertical uplift reaching about 5 cm on some stations in the westernmost part of the island. 
The Spanish research vessel Roman Margaleff is on its way to investigate the area offshore western El Hierro, and INVOLCAN is planning a field survey in the coming days. Their results will likely give more clues about what is going on

.

Update Fri 22 Mar 17:16
Earthquakes and tremor have continued through the day, and continued to migrate a bit to the NW off the NW tip of the island. So far, 62 quakes above magnitude 2 have been recorded today. 
In addition, the average depth of the latest earthquakes has become a bit shallower and is now around 13 km (compared to 17-20 km before). This suggests that magma is still moving and has risen a bit closer to the surface, and, thus, a possible eruption.
Map of today's earthquakes at El Hierro
Map of today's earthquakes at El Hierro
Current tremor signal (IGN)
Current tremor signal (IGN)


Also see:
http://globalrumblings.blogspot.com/2013/03/media-meteor-mania-sightings.html




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