The Canary Island of El Hierro, situated in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa but under the governance of Spain, has been suffering a 'swarm' of earthquakes over the past few days.
Seismic activity began on the island last July with the gradual development of an undersea volcano just off the small town of La Restinga. Large bubbles of gas were seen rising to the surface of the sea and the residents of the island were in a constant state of alert in case an emergency evacuation was needed. The activity continued to grumble though until just before Christmas 2011 and then died right down.
According to Canaries News, eleven earthquakes were reported on El Hierro on Thursday June 14 ranging between 1.7 and 2.8 on the Richter scale. This time, the activity was located around the island's capital La Frontera.
Things quietened down somewhat until today Monday June 25 when a swarm of volcanoes has begun starting at just before 2 am in the morning and continuing during the morning, increasing in strength with the largest so far registering at 3.8 on the Richter scale according to the Spanish National Geographic Institute just after 9am GMT.
Earthquake Report says that the quakes are getting stronger with the average depth at around 20km. The site says the quakes epicentres are moving towards the volcanic cone that formed last year and suggests that " a new eruption is imminent".
The emergency group set up to deal with seismic events in the Canary Islands has met but so far no official comment or press release has been made.
The Canary Islands consist of a group of seven islands, formed millions of years ago by volcanic activity. They are a popular holiday resort, especially for visitors from northern Europe and Spain. The largest island is Tenerife, which has at its centre the most famous of the islands’ volcanoes, Mount Teide. El Hierro is the smallest island and lies to the west of the archipelago, closer to the North African shore. It has a population of around 10,000.