El Hierro – Missing facts and what’s up

Photographer: Eckhard Pecher, released under GNU. Something is twisted in  El Hierro.

I have for many reasons not written about El Hierro. There are a couple of reasons for that omission. The first one is that it would mainly be speculation about what is happening there. The main reason for it being speculation is that there is not a lot that we do know. The second reason is that the powers that be seem to hide parts of the information that would be needed to write about it really.

I will though write about what I do know.

As some of you have noticed, I have a couple of sources sending me behind the scenes information. They would be in a world of problem if I released all the information I have seen. The information is ranging from inside memos and reports to unreleased photographic evidence of what is happening. Since I grew up in a publishing family, I know the importance of securing the safety of sources, so I will not ever release the material I have gotten. And since I am a Swedish citizen my protection is absolute by law regarding the protection of sources. Nothing can force me to release their identities.

Both sources have sent me memos pointing to IGN editing away shallow earthquakes of lesser magnitude in the El Golfo area. Lurking of course went and checked the earthquake list of IGN to the spectral plot of the tremoring, and found “oddities”, that seem to confirm the memos.

Imagery by GeoLurking

Secondly, I have received undisputable photographic evidence of a large gas vent that was open during the time of the large, totally saturating, tremoring that occurred on the sixteenth and seventeenth this month.  The photographic material shows that during this time Bob released very large pyroclasts (floating stones), that surfaced and sank after a while. The pyroclasts was large as furniture. Also, the water was turning red during the activity. But the most important material was showing a 100 by 100 meter large gas vent that had opened up adjacent to Roques de Salmor in El Golfo. The imagery also showed gas venting along a fissure on the northern rock face of Roques de Salmor Minor. There is no doubt about it.

The Public Authority of IGN, Spain. Released under Swedish Common Law that requires any and all authorities to release any information freely. Also Released under EU Informaton Freedom Act. The image show the saturating tremoring of the seventeenth.

The area of Roques de Salmor is closed off, everyone around has been moved away, and the tunnel leading in and out of the El Golfo area has been closed down due to the very high gas levels.

At the same time the powers that be released a report stating that gas levels had dropped, and that there was no second source of tremoring. This is a willful attempt at disseminating the truth. As we know Lurking have backtracked the data given from the stations and found a probable northern second source of tremoring. There was/is a second vent releasing large amounts of gas that was/is the most likely source of the tremoring.

I find the behavior of the powers that be in the area to be totally disgusting. One should never let a natural disaster become a way for personal promotion, and making politics out of human lives in danger is the lowest thing one can do. They should be utterly ashamed of themselves.


A short comment on the blog

It seems like the idea of having a thread where people can socialize worked well. Someone discovered by accident that we can post videos now directly into the blog in embedded form. We have decided to leave that function active for the time being. If we discover that it makes the pages to slow to load, we might have to make changes to that though. So, to avoid that and to keep that cool feature I would like to ask everyone to limit themselves a bit. Please, post only volcanic videos in the volcanic threads.

In the Bar threads there is for the time being no limit (this as a bit of a test of what is possible to do). I hope that everyone understands that we might have to change this later if problems start to occur, but I hope that we will not have too.


597 thoughts on “El Hierro – Missing facts and what’s up

    • I see what you mean, I do believe there is a stain there from a possibly very deep vent, but I also think the big stain at the top-left of the island may be from its own vent in that area too.

    • It is there.
      But what is a bit odd is that there seems to be another larger one if you look at the Panoramico General of La Restinga on the far left side.
      Crap, now some weird mist covered the spot.

  1. Today activity seem to be about 100 to 150 meters out from the port. I would guess it is new vent even closer to the beach. My guess is that the tremor saturations that we see are when the old vents get blocked, and after that we have a release as a new vent opens. And of course it has to open “up-tube” from the blockage.
    After doing a bit of a mental trajectory of these vents (that look to be mainly a lot of gas, but with a bit of hot stones shooting out) I would guess that either the next, or the one after that will open inside the actual port of La Restinga.
    I hope I am wrong on this, I really do. But if I had a boat there I would move it away emediatly.

    • Looking at the videos it seems to me it is right at the harbour walls right now – but its hard to tell from the grainy footage. The up close looks to me like there are a lot of pyroclasts as the moment too.

      • I am afraid that you might be right… The cam is blurry, but it looks like bubbling and even a stone. And one thing that I do not even believe that I saw, I am probably wrong about this, but it tentatively looked like a stone shot over the harbour wall onto the walkway on the inside.
        I hope those cars I saw driving around about five minutes ago was guardia civil checking that the town is empty.

        • Why would the town be empty? I thought they let everyone return home, business as usual.

          If the eruption occurs next to the harbor walls, would they collapse? I mean, eventually they would be effected, but would they start crumbling? What are the walls made of?

    • Laopinion.es:
      – Ultima hora: Localizan una nueva boca eruptiva en la costa de La Restinga
      – Latest news: A new eruptive vent localised near the coast of La Restinga

      Nothing more than that written at the moment though, but I’m sure they will come with more info later.

    • Involcan (and Avcan) also put out this notice now:
      URGENTE: Miembros de la Unidad de Helicópteros de la Guardica Civil, que actualmente colabora con INVOLCAN en la vigilancia de la erupción en el Sur de La Restinga han localizado una nueva boca eruptiva en el mar. Más datos en los próximos minutos.

      URGENT: Members of the Helicopter Unit of the Civil Guardica, who currently works with INVOLCAN in the monitoring of the eruption in the South of La Restinga have located a new eruptive mouth into the sea. More data in the next few minutes.

    • Aaand, I go to do some work and miss all the action. 😦
      Anyway, here’s something about this new vent:
      First two paragraphs are what mirri said, but the last one is new:

      Esta nueva zona está situada al este de las otras dos bocas eruptivas y en dirección transversal a éstas. A su vez, en el lugar donde se ha localizado esta nueva fisura ha aparecido un ligero burbujeo sobre el mar.

      This new zone is situated to the east from the other two eruptive vents, in a transversal (perpendicular) direction from the two. At the same time, a new jacuzzi appeared on the sea in the place where this new fissure has been localised.

      So, perpendicular to the first two vents and towards the east, that I think is probably towards La Restinga and possibly the cause of this new action on cameras.

  2. Shhhhhhhhh….ttttttt! That’s what I definitely hate about webcams – you can’t get access to them when it’s interesting. Rhaaaa!
    Carl, you said “…release as a new vent opens. And of course it has to open “up-tube” from the blockage.” Why absolutely up-tube? I’s also see it as the highest probability, but what excludes the possibility to find another lateral path?

    • I think this is what Carl means – (I’m not a volcanologist)

      The lava won’t find an escape anywhere ‘after/downtube’ of the blockage (as there is no pressure buildup that side of the blockage)

      Any lateral path escape ‘is’ starting ‘uptube’

      Put your foot on a hosepipe – the water will try and escape somewhere on the tapward side of your foot – where the water/lava eventually gets to/emerges depends on where it finds to flow once it breaks out of the tube it’s currently in.

      • missed out that the ‘easiest path’ to the surface along that route had already been opened – but if that is now closed with enough weight (vent collapse?) on it to stop it opening again the hosepipe will open somewhere further back (and that might then find another tube to run along that goes past the first vent, but that seems unlikely as the push then has to go further than it did for the initial vent). So the fresh burst in the hosepipe is likely to result in a vent (along the conduit’s route) but in the direction of the magma chamber from the initial vent. Also if the vent is now opened in that direction then there probably won’t be any more lava/gas getting to the old vent – as it can escape at the first hole in the holepipe (some might still roll out the end of the hosepipe if the blockage cleared but the pressure there will be weaker, so that seems unlikely to me anyway).

      • Thanks for taking the explanation-time!
        Now I see. I was looking at it the wrong way, mislead by the “up” and “down”. he meant “before” and “after” somehow. Did some too quick reading.

        • Also thinking about it the magma reservoir as observed by Lurking’s quake plots appears to be roughly north of the current location of ‘Bob’ so if future vents are likely to emerge in the direction of the reservoir, that is the likely direction of progression for the ‘Bobette vents’

        • Also interesting that Ursula’s post above says it’s to the east – wonder if that implies anything about the direction of the lava tube feeding Bob?

        • Thank you Edward, you where spot on.
          It was not much to the east though, just out of the first eruption view on the cam.
          But yes, it says a lot about the swizz cheese of a volcano.

  3. Hi everyone, I just got home and am reading up while you all are sleeping! I don’t know if the following should go on the new post, but since it’s not sheep related I thought it would fit better here.

    From Avcan to the link below, I found a new blog post dated November 21, 2011 by Jose Luis Barrera Morate. He describes himself as a geologist specializing in volcanology, and he is the author of 54 geological maps of the Canary Islands (scale 1:25.000) including maps of El Hierro Island. His blog is in Spanish, translation by Google and me follows…

    “The fissure eruption is progressing and the tunnel is cracking.

    Ever since the submarine eruption occurred on October 10th, everyone seemed to think that the crisis would end in a few days. But it did not. There have been 40 days of eruption and we do not know when this will end. In the north of the island in El Golfo, a new seismic crisis began with deeper hypocenters and somewhat higher magnitudes. Also the direction of the new fissure is different: it is pointing directly at La Restinga. If it progresses on land, the danger increases and with it the risk.

    The risk is not just whether there will be an eruption or not. The status of the Los Roquillos tunnel is worrysome. On October 18, technicians examined it and found many deficiencies caused by the earthquakes: cracks in several stretches, cables with anchors detached, loosening of the keystones, in other words, the current status is disasterous. With the pressure from the people, who would now dare to say it is dangerous to travel through it while the earthquakes are continuing some with magnitude 4.0?

    On another day I’ll tell you about the rooster tails.”


    • It is now five weeks since that tunnel examination, in which time there have been many more earthquakes in the area, some enough to provoke minor rock falls. I have to wonder what condition the tunnel is in now.

  4. On the webcam today there were two stains visible – here are some screenshots uploaded by AVCAN.

    The first stain:

    A little while later came a smaller one to the left:

    Due to the strong currents, the stains drifted to the right (and currently out of view on the cams):

    (Not quite sure where webcam-posts belong, so for now I put it on the El Hierro thread. If it should have been in the Sheepy Dalek bar, let me know and I will keep it in mind for another time 🙂 )

    • It would have been way OT for the Sheepy Dalek 🙂
      Either here or in the last posted normal thread.
      Nice photos.

    • And some new photos and info from INVOLCAN showing the new jacuzzi photographed at 11.40 yesterday, 200 metres east of the old one (North 27º607547 – West -17º 991288).

      “When returning to the area later in the day, the new jacuzzi was gone which also have happened before (Nov 4). These observations confirm the existence of bursts or sudden pulses of gas by submarine eruptive activity south of La Restinga that disappears but are of great use to detect and locate new mouths or emission sources associated with this eruptive volcanic process.”



  5. Hi,

    I have been intrested to figure out, since Bob’s birth, where it exactly locates on the coast.

    Because we now have maps from different sources where are lon/lat and latest postions it’s easier.
    When I located Bob’s close up image into larger scale image I get into aprx. 2620 m distance to the east side harbor wall end “pilar”.
    I do not know what are the official figures so this is only my estimate distance to some visible bench mark on La Restinga harbour based on GE and available images with lon/lat values.

    When I had done it I checked out the seafloor more closly.
    If there are (??) new vent(s) closer to coastline about 500m from harbour the depth would be under 100m from seafloor (based on contours on the map).

    I was woundering few things and like to have opinions from you experts.

    In the image I have marked position a and b and I found “line” between a and b.
    Point a bypass Bob near west side where I think was small slide on the wall few days ago.

    What is the visible “line” on seabed surface? (tube, fissure, crack or what?)
    Could it be a feed line from Bob to forward coastline?
    If you follow it to point b it ends like regular square with edge with “landslides”?
    I assume that they are millions years old.
    From point a the “line” have changed in weeks a lot (my personal total amateur opinion).

    You can see surface better from original PDF file on page 8 using zoom level 200-400%

    (sorry my bad english) 😦




  6. To be honest I do not have a clue what your line is.
    I think you fond something that might be important, but what is beyond me to answer (at least for now). Tentatively I would like to say that it is more related to a landslide crack or something like that. But it is a rather large feature really. And it does not fit the bill for being a volcanic fissure (I think).
    The landslide to the eastern side is (if I remember correct) about 60 to about 120 000 years old. But there is a very good papper about the landslide up at the GEMs in the header of the page where you can learn all about them.
    I think we will have to ponder the Tim_AJ-line for a while and discuss it.

  7. There was a 3.0 magnitude quake at a depth of 2.6 miles on the western edge of the Yellowstone Caldera. As far as I know, there are no faults in that part of the caldera.

    • both of my replies got eaten too – but just trash the link out of the first – and lose the second reply completely

      • Edward: yes, I just saw it, I published the first one.
        Don’t know what’s the problem, because they looked completely ok to me. Except if it’s something with this link that spam filter doesn’t like (because she had the same link in her spammed comment)?

        • beautiful!! nature at it´s unparalled best! thanks to you all for your extraordinary take on what´s going on in el hierro – where is Carl-I know he´s had a c***p few days with the tooth and had to go and get splattered last night, but I miss his brilliant if, a bit scary input…I am in Tenerife and can see El Hierro from my dining room window on a good day…..but no way we can see any difference in the sea from here. Canarian news reporting very little on the current sitaution….so we are relying on you guys to keep us in the picure

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