Tanganasoga Vulcano Inflation

Photographer: Unknown, all rights reserved. The baren volcano of Tanganasoga.

This will be a rather short post. During the last day I have received some information regarding Tanganasoga. Apparently it has been known for some time, but held back from the general population of El Hierro, that Tanganasoga is suffering from rapid inflation due to magma injection.

The Inflation

Even though I had two individual sources stating this, I still wanted to have additional confirmation before I wrote about it. After all, now we are talking about a volcanic feature that possibly can cause fatalities. So to get a bit of confirmation I asked GeoLurking to make a plot of the current uplift. It seems to indicate that there is an ongoing inflation in the Tanganasoga volcano.

Image: GeoLurking. Inflation hypocenter of Tanganasoga

Carbon dioxide map

CO2 is one of the premier gasses when you try to judge a volcanoes state. If you have an increased emission from a volcano you have yet another precursor to a possible eruption. As can be seen on the image below the area of Tanganasoga is leaking CO2 quite badly right now. The northwestern red area is related to the Roques de Salmor gas-vent.

Image: Unknown creator. Several zones of high CO2 release in and around the Tanganasoga volcano

Tanganasoga inflation

The inflation of the Tanganasoga Volcano puts strain on the rock face pointing down towards the village of Los Llanillos. As the rock face is put under strain it will sooner or later start to shear and parts of the rock face will start to come loose and fall down.

There is also a small risk of a lateral collapse of the mountain side if an eruption occurs at Tanganasoga. I am not saying that it would be like Mount Saint Helens, the pressure is just not there. But, between 0.5 and 2 cubic kilometer of rock going down into the bay is not good news. And then on top of that, magma flowing down after the falling rocks. Well, I for one would not like to be in the way of it all.

Let us be clear on one thing, I am not saying that there will be an eruption at Tanganasoga. But the pressure build up on the rock alone requires diligent monitoring. And the political will to evacuate Los Llanillos if there is an increased risk of a larger rock fall due to mountain tension. If the risk increases even more, which I think is likely after seeing the CO2 map. They need to make serious preparations for evacuation of everything from Frontera to Sabinosa. Because if there is an eruption at Tanganasoga there will be rockslides, magma flows, and yes even the small risk of pyroclastic flows. And it will all most likely be going into the town of Frontera, so there is not being any leeway for risking a non-evacuation. It is time for the small boys of IGN, Pevolca, Involca and the rest to grow up, and grow a pair.


559 thoughts on “Tanganasoga Vulcano Inflation

  1. Some people are commenting on AVCAN FB that they sometimes feel a strong smell of sulfur in the area of Frontera. Apparently others have also heard a noice and felt a light shaking before the smell appeared. One of the persons called 112, and the municipality came to check the area and will send their report to CECOI (Centro Coordinador Insular de Emergencias y Seguridad).

    And INVOLCAN have put out some photos of the stains taken yesterday morning:

    • @Karen very nice plots and the earlier rotating plots also cool

      two things that would make it nicer
      1) a map – or something indicating where these plots are in relation to the island (I’m guessing this is tricky to do)

      2) can I suggest switching the yellow for red and the red for yellow
      looking at a rainbow going from blue ->green -> yellow -> red is much easier to understand (for me at least) compared to the current colour scheme
      I’m guessing that’s going to be time consuming – but perhaps 3 generic find and replace actions might be relatively painless ?
      1) red->temporary placeholder,
      2) yellow->red
      and finally
      3) temporary placeholder->yellow

      • Sorry, I can’t add a map with my software (Threedify do do a package where you can, but it is outside my budget). You’ll have to use latitude & longitude – or ask GeoLurking.

        I am not planning change the 3D until I update the series of EQs. But are you looking for anything in particular that the additional screen shots do not appear to show?

    • Thank you, it was highly informative.
      I will think about it for a little while… More to the point, I will ponder untill the morning… 🙂

  2. “so we still have no idea whether this is going to end up in another vent on land, continued activity at Bob, or even cessation of all activity.”
    Also, if it emerges on land we have little idea of what material we are likely to get by the sound of it.

    • This of course was a reply to Bruce’s post but in the meantime a new page started and for some reason this prevented it being attached to his comments. I don’t understand this.

  3. I saw this white smoke on the eruption Telefonica webcam, zoomed into it and boosted the speed by 10. I do think it is a stain on the webcam lense , but you never know :)!
    I can’t check it on the other webcam becomes he looks nowhere – Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! If it would be smake it should be a revelation. We may send the videa to the scaremongers and ask them what it is !

    • Oooh I’d love it to be smoke. But if I look at the surface of the water I think I can identify a bit of wind, and then the smoke wouldn’t stand so steady… My way to see it, for what it’s worth.
      But just go ahead and send it to the scaremongers. Tar is boiling, feathers are fresh and “flocky” – ready for some action, semper fi… 🙂
      Thanks again for the video. I really can’t find any time for following things for long time, it’s always peering in whenever possible. For guys like me it’s gold to have these pieces of cake condensed in one place.

        • You know, the whole world has got so smooth. When I was young, a vampire was a dark fellow, seducing a pretty maid and eating her up like a beast in 15 minutes. You were shivering when seein the scene at the movies. Nowadays the glitter in the sun! Glitter in the sun!!! Please!!!!! We have to get used to a bit of “toughness” again, and therefore, the scaremongers are the ideal subjects to lead the world to some more reality in everydays life… 🙂

        • Well, erm, ok. Let’s put it that way: this statement could be to discuss, but I don’t want to go toooooo far off topic…
          Ouafouafouahahahaaaaaa… 🙂

        • I knew it after finishing it , but at the beginning i saw the column to move a bit like a big magma bomb floating in the sea and smoking (probably the slight camera movement). As soon as it was finished, i saw that it was the lense, but as it was finished i only published it here. At the end we start to believe our own nonsense (i speak for myself :))

        • Armand, you will see this “diamond” when the sun is in a certain position in relation to the cam. It comes and goes. But on this clip (at least on the still image) it really looked like smoke.

      • First I thought the same. So I immediately went to AVCAN page to check people’s comments and did not read anything about it. So they concluded that it was just a stain.

        • @ Una,
          The GC helicopter pictures are great. Could you ask bro if he could fly between the patch and the sun so we get one pic with the shadow of his machine on it- for scale.

        • I do not know if that’s possible. Anyway it is certain that he should know the measures of the stain. Perhaps they are published. Otherwise I’ll ask myself.

    • It’s still there. It can’t be on the camera lens itself because things on its surface don’t show but you can see the reflection of the whole front of the camera in the window it’s looking through so it’s either on the window or the reflection of a reflection off the front of the lens.

    • It is solar reflection on the lense. It was there yesterday at the same time, but then the mast was swaying so the fountains was all over the surface.

  4. Somebody in ER asked me whether the current pattern of bursts is a coincidense.
    This was my answer : Dear David, It does not have to be a coincidence. Look at it as a constantly heated cooking pan. If the fire underneath remains the same, the cover will regularly blow off some steam. The same is the case here. The vent is feeded with new material / gases (from the deeper areas in the El Golfo area) and when the pressure gets higher than the water column, it blows off. As we had only 2 volcanic earthquakes today and a more or less harmonic tremor, the process is not too much altered (like it was the case many times before). When the stain was seen at first (around October 10) a similar process had started. Very few earthquakes with a growing colorful stain. So, the main reason why there are so few earthquakes today, is that multiple vents have been opened (see the pictures from yesterday), and that a lot of material is erupted. If the process follows the same pattern than during the October 10 phase, more action is expected. Unfortunately bad news for the fish and for the people of La Restinga.
    Of course your opinion is highly appreciated

  5. I know that this is only one of the many scenarios. Do you guys and girls have another version here. Maybe 1 remark : on the webcams we see nothing at all, Ian and Joke who made pictures yesterday have seen only limited coloring and vent action. If you then campare yesterdays Guardia Civil pictures with those from Joke and Ian, this shows a way of difference. To conclude : i think we have a lot of action today but those bl… webcams are not showing it.

    • My take is that this might be the final blow of Bob, and that the tube will shut down soon in a systemic collaps. Afters that Bob may, or may not, erupt closer to the harbour, in the harbour or onland.
      But, the current reports of sulphuric smell at Frontera tells an alternate story, a story that is corroborated by a lot of circumstantial evidence and an official report from one of the organisations stating that the most likely thing to happen now is an eruption happening on the line from Tanganasoga to Los Llanillos.
      I made a mini-post comment yesterday about this after reading the internal report of the organisation in question.

      • I did read it Carl – indeed a viable scenario even more when i saw Geolurkings deformation image and on top todays smeel at Frontera . I am really curious what wil happen with the earthquakes when the current La Restinga vents are closing ! Ian was in Frontera today, will ask him whether he smelled it too

  6. I had planned to post about an Icelandic volcano today. This will not happen due to me feeling like I have been behorked by a herd of elephants after having an emergency root-canal. After sleeping I hope to post either a canned post, or another thing that I find highly interesting. But, I might sleep all night too… We will see.

  7. I would like to contribute information that may be curious and interesting. I’ve been looking for the status of one of the many caves of the Iron, and I have found one in particular caught my attention. This is the spit of Las Palomas and here’s their description:
    “Pit of Las Palomas
    Location: El Golfo (Frontera)
    Depth:90 meters
    Description: This is an amazing and frighting cave located in the slope of the Tanganasoga volcano. Its entrance, whose vertical diameter forms a desdending slope of 45 per cent,gives away to a small oven from which three overlying tubes go in the same direction and with the same declivity as that of the slope. The lower tube can reach heights of 15 meters. This is one of the deepest volcanic pits of the archipelago and in its birth the typical mechanism o lava tube formation was merged with the latter melting of the overlaying tubes”.
    Could Bob used again this volcanic tube to exit to the surface? The path is already made.

    • Around 20 at Mýrdalsjökull and some of them on Eyjafjallajökull, there were not much of them there lately.

      47 at Hengill. But just very small ones, water injection perhaps. http://www.vedur.is/skjalftar-og-eldgos/jardskjalftar/hengill/

      And 50 in the next vicinity of the island of Grimsey. One of them was over 3 on Richter. They have rather often smaller or bigger earthquakes swarms there, because it’s part of TFZ, the Tjörnes Rift Zone, which is linking together Iceland and the Kolbeinsey Ridge (continuation of the Mid Atlantic Ridge to the north of Iceland).

      There ar also submarine volcanoes not too far away. So there could develop a situation comparable to the one at El Hierro, but with some big differences: There are only 86 inhabitants on Grímsey, and they are not far away from the main island of Iceland (about 40 km). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gr%C3%ADmsey#Economy_and_society

  8. For Lurking, Karen, Peter and shteve, here’s my first rudimetnary take on 3D GIS layering:
    geology map on top (or bottom) of depth scatterplot.

    Took me longer than I thought, mosltly because it turned out that the geology map (linked from Bob’s page) is in a non-standard projected coordinate system (REGCAN 95), which none of my softwares recognised. So this required a bit of imaginative georeferencing via grabbing images in Google Earth and mapping the two together to link the geology map into the lon/lat UTM WGS1984 (in which earthquake data come). Of course, you think something like this would be easy and then look up after you’re done only to find out that you spent a couple of hours data wrangling…

    Anyway, before I get to be too technical, here’s the view from top, Novemeber quakes, colour = magnitude, map on the bottom, as you can see it had to be warped into N-S, E-W direction:

    View from SW (different colour scheme for quakes, still showing magnitude, map on top):

    View from SE:

    View from NW:

    • Oh and the usual Lurking-disclaimer: I also just plot stuff and take no liability for any potential actions based on these plots…

      • Ursula, A picture is worth a thousand words… thank you.
        In the view from SE the viewing angle is aligned to look into the aseismic layer – which I think is underplating. So is it possible to give the user control of ‘panning’?

        And this Eyjaf plot from ‘Korf’ has the shadow of the EQs ghosted onto the wall of the cube so that depth can be assessed free of parallax:

        • Peter, unfortunately I can’t make this interactive, as I am using Voxler software, which to my knowledge is one of the few that can do this type of 3D volumetric visualisation (e.g. there’s nothing like this as a webmapping tool, as far as I know – one of my colleagues was going to try to use Google Earth to do some volume projections on top of the geographic Earth surface, which is something that could be used for this type of 3D displays, but it’s not possible to do in Google Earth – but if anyone knows of some 3D web mapping tool better than Google Earth, that would be cool to know). I guess I could make a movie in Lurking/Karen style, except I don’t know how… 😉

          But, hmmm, shadowing on the sides. Should be possible to do if I just project the data onto the side-planes and stick in three extra 3D scaterplots for each projection…
          Let me see…

    • Two comments:
      And the second comment, I think we can see Bobs tube on this one a bit more clearly.

      Thanks Ursula (The plot-lurker)

    • Thankyou so very much for your hard work Ursula; it’s certainly helped me to understand more. Would it be possible (and if not too much trouble) to do an view from the top but with the EQs colour coded for depth rather than magnitude? I wonder if that would give us another view of the shape of things downstairs? Light colour for shallow dark for deep?
      Thanks again x

  9. VERY OT
    I hope Carl will permit this post but it may affect others
    From a small feature in the press, a number of Neff, Siemens and Bosch dishwashers may have a potential fire hazard in the control pannel. Ours at home was one and having had an AEG self destruct about 6 years ago, please take note
    Dishwashers affected batch no range FD7901 TO FD8504
    found etched on door top or side
    or Tel 0800 5610 082
    Ours was repaired today, takes about 15 minutes and is FREE ,paid for by the manufacturer . it is the main programmer relay in the door and have been a few instances of meltdown and fire

    @ Carl
    Sorry for this and I hope the tooth isn’t too bad

      • From the local news, don’t stick a Tiki torch in a Colman lantern to try and light it.

        Kid is in the burn unit now because of it. If he makes it, he’s gonna have to thank his brother who beat the flames out.

  10. Pingback: El Hierro Volcano (Canary Islands) : Red alert – Las Calmas sea yesterday – a painter’s palette

  11. what woukd happen if el hierro colapsed and slid into the sea? would it create a mega-tsunami? we live in S Fla. How long would we have and how far inland may a mega-tsunami reach? I just got this computer and I discovered you all and the great work you all are doing.. KEEP IT UP, YOU ALL ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

    • Hi Pat,

      Please don’t concern yourself, it has been shown here by some very fine though (alledgedly amateur) scientists that even if there was a major colapse of El Hierro it would be of the order of a pebble in a pond… You need not prepare to run for the hills x

    • That’s asking quite a bit for the imagination.

      Pragmatically… and for sake of seeing things in a relative fashion, El Hierro, the island, is not going to collapse and fall into the sea.

      Parts of it can drop off, sure. But the brunt of the catastrophe that it can cause has already happened… several thousands of years ago.

      The El Julan side to the south, and the El Golfo slide to the north. Tinor suffered a slide far before that. There just isn’t that much left that can make a displacement that would be something to fret over.


      The Japanese tsunami displaced a volume of water somewhere in volume, between the entire volume of the above water part of El Hierro, to about twice that. It did this in a planar fashion, meaning that the energy release was across a long linear stretch of the ocean. This makes a planar wave, instantaneously.

      Planar waves mean that the energy along the wave front does not dissipate that much and it retains its force as it come rolling in.

      If part of El Hierro decided to fall off, it would be a point source event. Until the wave travels away from the island the energy will propagate as an expanding wave front. This decreases the amount of energy per meter of wave front length as that front grows larger and larger.

      After a while, the wave will transition to a planar wave… probably somewhere between 4 to 10 wavelengths out.

      For the depths at El Hierro, this is gonna be about 30 to 250 miles out. At that point, what is left over is what you should worry about… if anything.

      To generate a mass displacement the size of the Japanese tsunami, you would have to instantly dunk the entire island at once…. and then you may only have half the volume.

      • I’m thankful to have found your exchanges. I too live in Fla-Cape Canaveral and have been watching the Bob events with intrest. Your advise on the potential risk was calming. I’d like to expand Pat’s question to La Palma. Do current events suggest activity moving north?

    • If El Hierro collapsed and slid into the sea, the ripple produced would (and i live less than 100 miles from El Hierro) be only enough to wash over my flip flops if i were standing on the beach.
      Conversion rate is around 4 flip flops to 1 Sneaker
      So not much to worry about.

      • I didn’t do a turkey this year. For the last 11 years, and several before that, I would fry it. Best tasting turkey your have ever seen.

        My aunt clued me into it back in the early 90’s. She used to be the head nurse at a shipyard in New Orleans and the workers… mostly Cajun, seemed to like doing it that way.

        This year, with the kids and grand kids being total shit birds to each other, my wife and I told them to piss off.

        So I bar-q-que’d a slab of ribs instead.

        • Your killing me here… Now I want to BBQ, but it is driving zero degree rain here… And in the middle of the night.
          Since some odd church fel like hot-wiring the elevetor to go to the top floor, disregarded the signs telling them to get lost, didn’t understand why a door has an alarm sign on it and video cameras, and still banged on the door untill the alarm went off… Just to tell me in person that the world is going under at the THIRD coming of Christ, of course at 10.30 in the night… I might as well cook something to eat. Haven’t eaten for a couple of days due to dang tooth…

        • If it makes you feel any better, I bar-b-que’d by flashlight.

          A mini-mag lite single LED version (the bright one) held in my teeth that I typically use to work on stuff that I can’t get a good eyeball on… while half upside down poking around in a nest of gears and live wires. (nah, not anymore, but that’s what I used to do with it)

  12. Anybody else find those two EQ at 20.51 and 20.54 both 16km deep interesting. Both just on the shoreline near Los Llanillos.

      • OK, it was just their close coincidence that caught my attention, that and them being at the spot I’ve been looking at for a couple of weeks. Very impressed with your plotting. You must be very single minded. I couldn’t match that concentration at any time in my life.

      • Its not really concentration. It’s curiosity. I’m sort of driven by “how a thing works.” They’ve got data that allows a lot of manipulation and different ways of looking at it.

        Though we bash them for some of their arrogance towards the public being “too stupid to understand”, they do release the phase data.

        All I did was have a half arsed epiphany about how to look at it.

    • Annnnddd the pevolca and all those guys still maintain that “there’s nothing to see here; move along people…” these awesome pictures go to show how hopeless the (alleged)webcams are…
      BTW Armand I found this great place via your website when I Giggled El Hierro researching our next Canarian strollling holiday…
      We were on La Gomera at the end of Setember; but of course with only the local media; which we didn’t pay much attention to, we knew nothing…
      So it’s all your fault… 😉
      Thanks Armand 😉

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  14. Pingback: Red alert for volcanic eruption in El Hierro (original post) | Janet Anscombe

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