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article imageCanary Island of El Hierro on the move again

By Amanda Payne     Mar 17, 2014 in Environment
Seismic activity has suddenly increased again over the past few days on the small island of El Hierro, part of the Canary Island archipelago.
Digital Journal has been following developments on the island over the past few years as the island goes through what could be unscientifically referred to as a "growth spurt."
A new magma intrusion under El Hierro has begun to cause deformations in the island, so small that they are not obviously perceptible to the human eye at this time. The activity has been accompanied by a swarm of earthquakes, none of which have been large enough to be felt by the population as they are centred deep below the island. The activity is taking place in a different part of the island from previously, near Valverde and began on March 14.
INVOLCAN, the Institute of Volcanology in the Canaries confirmed in a report on March 16 that the GPS network on the island has shown land movement around the Valverde area, where the land has risen by 2.1 centimetres vertically in the past five days and El Pinar, where the land has risen by 1.5 centimetres. Their report says that 264 earthquakes were recorded between the 14-16 March. The cause of the rise is a magma intrusion forming under the centre of the island.
The Volcano Discovery website says that a new swarm of earthquakes appears to have started today, March 17 at the seismic station at La Restinga, the area where much of the previous activity in the last couple of years has taken place. However, none of the quakes have measured above 3.0 on the Richter scale so far.
Local news website El Hierro Digital reports, in Spanish, that despite the latest seismic rumblings, there are no alerts of possible eruptions with the alert status remaining at green and life on the island continuing totally normally. A spokesperson for the island's Council, Alpidio Armas said: "There is evidence of a slight increase in seismic activity at a low level and at great depth, something which is being closely watched at all times by the competent scientific organisations who assure us of the security not just of our residents but also visitors."
El Hierro is a young island, geologically speaking. and it appears to be once again growing and expanding. Scientists will be continuing to follow developments on the island closely as will Digital Journal.
More about Spain, Canary islands, El Hierro, Seismic activity
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