Canary Islands Government Monitors El Hierro Earthquake Swarm

Editors note:  Please correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the island geologists predict could potentially wipe out the U.S. East Coast by tsunami when the west side of the island fractures off into the ocean? Apparently there’s a fault line, or fissure of some sort that’s expected to break if seismic or volcanic activity in the area is strong enough.
About 10 years ago or so, I remember watching a National Geographic or Discovery Channel program that covered this topic, so this is a very real threat. They said that if this landslide happens that the tsunami created from so much mass, could potentially be one mile high or more.
If you look at the map below you can see a clearly defined line running down one side of the island…now remember a couple months ago the caller on Coast-2-Coast who claimed his neighbor in the military told him to move away from the East Coast? Wonder if he new something the rest of us don’t…
Irish Weather Online
Sat, 23 Jul 2011 21:35 CDT
The Canary Islands Government has said it is monitoring an earthquake swarm on the small island of El Hierro where in excess of 400 tremors of low magnitude have been recorded in the past four days.

On Friday, the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Government Security Canary convened the first ever meeting of the Steering Committee and Volcanic Monitoring, reflected in the Specific Plan Protection Civil and Emergency for Volcanic Risk, given what it described “the significant increase in seismic activity”.

© Google Earth
Location of tremors on El Hierro

A statement (translated from Spanish) issued following the meeting outlined: “This committee met this morning (Friday) at the headquarters of the Directorate General Security and Emergency Tenerife, established after the assessment of information gathered from seismic and volcanological last July 17 by the National Geographic Institute (IGN) and Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands, the situation is total normal for the green light for the information population, activating mechanisms for monitoring and oversight needed to coordinate the actions of self civil population and information contained in the Plan.”

“According to data provided by the seismic monitoring station IGN’s located in Valverde, one can conclude that from the noon on July 17 there has been a significant increase of low magnitude seismic activity in the municipality of Border of the island of El Hierro. To improve the location of this activity, has deployed a seismic network densification operational since July 21 has helped increase the number of earthquakes located, and can be viewed here“, the statement added.

© Institute Volcanological de Canarias
Latest tremor activity

El Hierro, a 278.5 km2 island, is situated in the most southwestern extreme of the Canaries. The origins of the island date back some 100 million years. After three successive eruptions, and consequent accumulations, the island emerged from the ocean as an imposing triangular pyramid crowned by a volcano more than 2,000 metres high.

The volcanic activity, principally at the convergence of the three ridges, resulted in the continual expansion of the island. A mere 50,000 years ago, as a result of seismic tremors which produced massive landslides, a giant piece of the island cracked off, crashed down into the ocean and scattered along the seabed.

© Google Earth
The location of the most recent tremors on El Hierro

This landslide of more than 300km3 gave rise to the impressive amphitheatre of the El Golfo valley and at the same time caused a tsunami that most likely rose over 100 metres high and probably reached as far as the American coast.

According to “Although over 200 years have elapsed since the last eruption, El Hierro has the largest number of volcanoes in the Canaries with over 500 open sky cones, another 300 covered by the most recent outflows, and some 70 caves and volcanic galleries, notably the Don Justo cave whose collection of channels surpasses 6km in length.”


7 comments on “Canary Islands Government Monitors El Hierro Earthquake Swarm

  1. I know that a tsunami rolls along the bottom of the sea and have seen the computer models which show it rolling along as if the bottom of the sea is flat but I haven’t seen how the tsunami would behave when it meets the mid-Atlantic trench – is it like on a roller coaster that it is accelerated and gathers enough momentum to go up the other side or is the mid-Atlantic trench so deep or steep that it would not get up the far side and roll back on itself thereby causing a massive turbulence in the mid-Atlantic – and if so what would be the computer model then?

  2. Pingback: Earthquake government | 2morts

  3. Re the National Geographic doco on the Canary Islands, I saw it again a week or so ago and it was the de la Palma island, which stated that a series of small earthquakes and/or volcanoes putting out a bit of steam and hiss, could be enough to loosen the steep and cracked, water-soaked sides that already exist, and yes, it would (by all their calculations) cause a massive slip on the left hand side of the island – falling into the sea and thereby causing a massive tsunami that would reach the whole of the east coast of Canada, USA, the Caribbean and South America. Apparently the eastern FEMA is watching out for this to happen (you have been warned), but there is no way that they could clear cities like New York before it reaches there – of course not – live on in paranoia or learn to accept that the earth is changing shape – getting fatter (just like us). Be prepared but be willing to change because if you don’t, you probably won’t survive. Learn to live with that possibility too!

  4. I remember hearing about this also, but thought the island was La Plama and the Cumbre Vieja ridge. From Wikipedia “The southern part of La Palma is dominated by the Cumbre Vieja, a volcanic ridge formed by numerous volcanic cones built of lava and scoria. The Cumbre Vieja is active – but dormant, with the last eruption occurring in 1971 at the Teneguia vent which is located at the southern end of the Cumbre Vieja – Punta de Fuencaliente,” Either one it doesn’t sound good.

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