El Hierro – Enter the Steamy Bob

Our videomasters Sissel and Lori (Buenamusa) has struck gold again. This time it is two stunning videos of Bob heating the water so much that steam has started to boil off. A lot of steam!

This is most likely a sign that the volcano named Bob south of La Restinga on El Hierro is closing in on the surface fast. IGN told Joke Volta that there was no unusual activity at Bob, and they also denied any flashes coming out before from Bob. Odd that we have video evidence from 3 different and reliable people. IGN seems to have entered their silly season, or gone straight back to childhood.

Sissels video

Loris video

Thank you both for your hard work!



As things got interesting everything seems to have gone pearshaped over at El Hierro. The cams got turned off, and IGN seems to think that the seismometer is not longer necessary. Here is a videotestament by Sissel that captures our thoughts exactly. Well, it is a holliday, so there might be small small excuse for them being nincompoops.


349 thoughts on “El Hierro – Enter the Steamy Bob

  1. and again,there is definitely something gong on – the light is very faint but is it there on the bottom of the screen…I have turned off all the lights in my living room to properly concentrate on the web cam…there is stuff happening out there

  2. Here is the video I made of today’s activity, Full day time lapse, with different cameras and speeds 😉

    Also, just read a comment on AVCAN’s facebook I will translate here:

    Julia Sisi visited the CAP today. She asked why was the Salvamar not going to ‘fish’ the lava stones. The answer was, that there is a change of science team and that some are leaving on vacation while others are coming, but that tomorrow will go ‘fishing’.
    We also talked about night restingolitas, they said they had seen ‘that video’ (Julio del Castillo, they have seen your video!) but they wouldn’t believe until they saw it for themselves!
    When the night came, the smoke could be seen slightly with the naked eye, and with binoculars the activity could be seen it continued the same… but when the wind didn’t blow very hard, the smoke raises very high, if there wasn’t any wind, we would se a nice column.
    Mi damm binoculars have not enough zoom to let me see if there were ballons ignited, i’m sorry, couldn’t see lights.

    What Movistar (Telefonica) is (not) doing has no words to describe it… Guys, it’s the third LARGEST PROVIDER in the world!!

  3. From AVCAN, here’s first original post and then my translation of each paragraph:

    Julia Sisi: Ante la opacidad informativa oficial, siempre nos queda la observación directa: vuelvo de La Restinga, estuvimos viendo la fumarola por la tarde, con una cantidad increíble de balloons, que se quedan flotando un buen rato antes de hundirse. El sitio de emisión está muy concentrado, aunque como dice Fernando Avcan, algunos salen por delante de la masa de humo (un poco más hacia la costa, aunque no sé precisar las distancias).

    To counter the opacity of the official news, we can always rely on direct observation: I have just returned from La Restinga. We were watching the fumarola in the evening, with an incredible quantity of balloons that surfaced and kept floating for a long time before sinking, The emission site is very concentrated, although as Fernando from Avcan says, some balloons emerge in front of the smoking area (a bit closer to the coast, even though I can not give you exact distances).

    También estuvimos en el CAP, preguntamos porqué no había salido hoy la Salvamar, y nos dijeron que es porque hoy hay recambio de científicos, unos se van de vacaciones y otros están llegando, y que mañana si saldrán a ‘pescar’.

    We were also at the CAP and asked why the Salvamar didn’t go out today. They told us that today there was a change in the scientific crew, that some went on vacation and others were arriving and that tomorrow they will definitely go “fishing”.

    También hablamos de las restingolitas nocturnas, dijeron que habían visto ‘el video ese’ (Julio del Castillo, han mirado tu video!), pero que no lo creerían hasta no verlo ellos mismos.
    Cuando se hizo de noche continuó la fumarola, se puede ver débilmente a simple vista, y con prismáticos se ve claramente que la actividad continúa igual… cuando el viento no sopla tan fuerte el humo se eleva bastante, si no hubiera viento, veríamos una bonita columna.
    Mis condenados prismáticos no tienen potencia para dejarme ver si estaban saliendo balloons encendidos, lo siento, no pude ver lucecitas.

    We also discussed the nocturnal restingolitas. They said that they saw “this video” (Juilo del Catillo, they watched your video!), but they did not believe it until seeing it themselves. When the night fell, the fumarola continued and could be seen weakly with a simple “vista” (?) and with “prismaticos” (? lenses? objectives?) it can be clearly seen that activity continues unchanges… when the wind doesn’t blow too much, the steam/smoke goes up quickly. If there was no wind, we would have seen a proper nice column. My “condenados prismaticos” (objectives?) are not strong enough for me to be able to see if there are more flaming balloons emerging – sorry, but I could not see any small lights.

    • Ah yes… our friends the trusty media strike again… even when reporting serious and tragic parts of their stories.

      “Skarphedinn Thrainsson risked his life to capture the magnificent images at -120C under Vatnajokull in southern Iceland.”

      -120°C is 153 K.

      CO2 sublimates from a solid to a gas at 194.7 K.

      • Of course… it could be a typo. Maybe it should have been -12°C?

        If that’s the case, the website author made the reporter look like a blathering idiot.

        • It is the Daily Mail. The home of the mistake, the typo and the downright silly. Still after my dreadful typo earlier this evening I am not one to talk. LOL.

  4. I would like if somebody mgiht entry in the INVOLCAN facebook and ask them:
    The last co2 emission dates was published on december 18th.
    Where are the last measurements and why it have not been published?
    Has yet INVOLCAN full autonomy for publishing their measurements or must you redirected all the dates to PEVOLCA before publishing?
    I´d like INVOLCAN tell us who is the person or instituion who is pressing to all the institutes…
    And wich is the mechanism they used:
    “National security”
    “avoid panics”
    “politicians covered and scientist too”
    “avoid harmfulls to tourism”
    Who is the person who is pressing to all the institutes, how and why?

  5. has anyone else seen faint lights on the ustream web cam, because as I said earlier visibilty would probaly be impaired due to haze caused by the calima, well, in Tenerife it is,but assume it could also be the same on el Hierro

    • I haven’t Debbie but I only looked for a short while as I have a problem that makes my eyes very sore at times.Off to bed now so I will catch up in the porning. What time does it get light in the Canaries by the way? Night all.

    • I tried for some time in complete darkness, but the only faint light I saw was unfortunately my own fingerprints showing on the screen. But maybe we could organize a little bet about what is going on here tomorrow morning?

      It would start like this: “I will eat my hat if….” or like this: “I will eat my hat if not……”

      • ok I agree about eating hats, and even BBQ.g hats – but not to doing it naked in Iceland something I remembered that Carl mentioned in an earlier blog

        • Nah, I only said I would BBQ my hat.
          It was Diana Barnes who cam up with me doing it starkers…

          But I guess the peer pressure will be enormous if Katla actually erupt before Hekla for me to do it starkers by now…

  6. Apologies if this was posted before. Katla scaremongering from Al Jazeera – as bad as the Daily Mail (UK tabloid newspaper that makes it up as they go along and always seem angry). Listen to what the locals of Vik and the IMO spokesperson say then contrast with the journalist. I do feel sorry for him as I think either a) his hooded coat muffled what he heard (in which case I’m sorry for pouring disdain at him) or b) his ears may have frozen off. My alternate theory c) he is a planted agent for the 2012 crusade (I think they declared war on GeoLoco) 😉 😆

        • Are you sure he is a he? I thought he was a she?
          English need the word hen… It is new swedish word of finnish origin denoting unknown gender. In swedish it is the middle betwen han and henne.

        • Yes could be a she as well, difficult to say. Would like to see him or her, I mean hen, when hen rereads its own comment.

          Shleep well and CU tomorrow!! Oh I wonder what we will see…

        • I am ‘he[n]’ but will respond to ‘they’ unless there is an accusatory finger pointed my way 😉 In English we tend to use ‘they’ (3rd person) when gender is not clear, it helps to avoid offence and is better than saying ‘it’. I prefer the Swedish ‘hen’ far better though.
          Sissel, excellent youtube videos, proving Bob was written off far too soon. I was doing a blog post on the Sun and Bob having gas.

  7. couldn´t resist a last look at webcam am convinced that there is still activity out there but very faint image as I am sure darkness, calima and the steam are masking the true nature of the event… good night everyone,,, must go t schleep now will check in again tomorrow,

  8. Update 07/01 – 01:01 UTC
    – Our dedication for the volcano goes very far
    Joke was checking the AVCAN news with her binocular and YES, she saw some glowing (burning) gas in the vent (Joke also saw the burning gas the day before yesterday). The smoke could also well seen. The burned gas can be seen about every 15 minutes she says. This afternoons activity is just continuing.
    Thank you Joke for your nightly work !

  9. Avcan FB

    Buenos días vigilantes. Nos han cerrado “las ventanas” y no podemos ver amanecer en La Restinga. Hay en twitter un tema con muchos comentarios que creo podíamos aprovechar para difundir el tema del apagón de las webcam.Es el siguiente #DesdeCanariasPalMundoEnte​ro. Si os parece bien poned vuestros comentarios sobre el cierre o avería de las cam. Yo ya he puesto varios.

    Good morning watchmen. They have closed us “Windows” and we can not see sunrise at La Restinga. There is an issue with many Twitter comments that I think could use to spread the theme of the blackout of the webcam.It is # DesdeCanariasPalMundoEntero. If you think well put your comments on the closure or failure of the cam. I have already made several. (Translated by Bing)

  10. And… haven’t really been plotting a lot. Partly Christmas, partly not having anything significant that warrants a plot, partly people dieing off for no good reason. The wife’s side of the family has had 3 deaths in the last 9 months and her brother is at ready five… so I don’t know how that’s gonna work out. Speaking of which, been driving quite a bit… which is good, that’s work. It’s not over the road trucking, but that’s about the only way you would wind up putting in more miles than I do.

    Eh, it’s life. Shit happens. No biggie.

    Anyway. I digitized several IGN GPS station data and put it in one plot. Still haven’t gotten around to the Mogi yet. As noted yesterday, I’m gonna have to make some assumptions about where the freaking magma chamber is at.

    During the run up phase, I assumed (always be careful when you assume) that it was at about 15 to 17 km deep and 4.1 miles from stations FRON. That’s where I came up with the 750K m³/day estimate. (actually, 798,645 m³/d with 34.8 mm lateral displacement at FRON)

    This covered the accumulation rate up until Bob went “pop” and the jacuzzi started. (63,891,583 m³ total in the 80 days until eruption) If you also assume that Bob has been acting as a relief valve (well, Bob and any related but unseen vents) then you can take the relatively flat GPS displacement to mean that Bob and crew are venting off what is accumulating in the chamber.

    That puts the effusive rate at the 750K to 800K m³/d level.

    I haven’t done a new Mogi yet…. mainly since I’m not really sure where to stick the chamber. (no, I am not sticking it there, that would be physically impossible) Another reason is that I’m still rummaging around to find my spreadsheets. (eight drives and a couple of TB of crap scattered all over the place)

    And… the third reason, which I mentioned earlier, is that I think that the current distortion field shows a shallower and possibly bifurcated chamber(s).

    From yesterday

    The positive values east of FRON are crap. There is no positive displacement east of FRON in the data! It shows up in the plot like that due to the way that the quadratic surface deals with fitting the available data points. As noted on the plot, lines of bearing to the stations east of FRON show a negative displacement. (IZAN, LPAL etc) This means that FRON and those stations are closer together.

    What is important in that plot, is the area west of FRON. Thats the direction of Sabinosa and Los Llanillos.

    In that direction, there are two really strong displacements straddling a not so strong displacement. Where the color bands are squashed together are going to be the locations that have the most displacement… and if there is uplift (which we can’t see from IGN’s truncated GPS data) it’s going to be at those points.

    Now my most recent plot.

    This is a running plot of the IGN GPS data and the quakes (with depth) that was going on at that time. As you can see, the displacement settled down to a pretty constant level once Bob started.

    The disturbing thing to note, and the part that is used in the previous map style plot, are the last few days. Something kicked the displacement into high gear. Dunno what. That is what makes me think that there may be a shallower set of magma accumulations.

    As for the idea of it being hot water… nah. If water gets hot enough to expand to that amount of pressure (to cause the observed distortion) it would have ruptured the surface and we would be looking at geysers.

    Well, them be the plots and my take on it. I’m not a geologist… so I could be wrong.

    Ruminate at you leisure.

    • Well, then I will ruminate further…

      It may or may not be correct, but I have read papers that postulate that the El Golfo slide may have generated decompression melting. I have no idea how long this goes on, but I found it curious that one day, this swarm just started out of the blue. To me, its as if the magma formed in place and started moving. Now, after Bob has taken some stress out of the system, new material gets mobile.

      • Thank you, GeoLurking, for the very interesting plot. It shows very clearly how Bob is functioning as a valve for the magma system. 🙂

    • Great plot.

      I’ve wondered if there was a shallower reservoir. My guess – and it is a guess – is under Tanganasoga or a bit to the north of there. But with rifting occuring and “silent EQ areas”, it’s a bit difficult.

      Can you get displacement data from prior to 19 July 2011? The reasons I ask are:1) there was a graph published by either Avcan or Nagoya showing that FRON etc did not start the year at zero – they were at a negative value, if you take July 2011 as zero. This implies that inflation / displacement started before the big EQ swarms; and, 2) there have been a few EQs preceding July 2011.

      • Yes it started in negative value, and as Sissel found out, there have been magmatic infusion episodes for at least 3 years. But it was not untill July that the systemic pressure got high enough for earthquakes to start happening due to fracturing.

        I know, I am a simple guy… But pressure driven quakes is the easiest explanation of almost all magmatic quakes. Even during deflation…

    • Can I make a post of this?

      I had not understood (yeah I heard that it had kicked into high gear, but I am a guy so I am visual) how large the shift was during the last days. I think that this deserves a bit of attention, to be modest.

  11. Morning everyone,
    I’m sitting here waiting for the sun to rise to see what Bob is doing. Ustream is up but still shows a black picture. And Movistar is still down, in spite of my first tweet ever (good idea from Armand), directed to them. And how do I know it arrived?? Because I just got an email saying: “Movistar España @movistar_es is now following you”! So I’m thinking about the text of my second tweet now…

  12. Sissel

    If the steaming has been going all all night what exactly does this mean is happening underneath to cause all this?

    • I wish I knew! But what we can say for sure, a lot of activity out there. The Restingolitas keep popping up, possibly having done so the whole night. Wonder how far Bob is from the surface now.

  13. Hay fumarolas más o menos contínuas en la zona del volcán submarino, ha estado así desde ayer a las 13:00 horas y durante toda la noche, visualizado con cámaras nocturnas FLIR. La actividad es alta y además se ha registrado un nuevo sismo en la zona del Julan. El día va a ser muy intenso.

    There are more or less continuous fumaroles in the area of the submarine volcano, it has been so since yesterday at 13: 00 and throughout the night, visualized with night FLIR cameras. The activity is high and in addition has been a new earthquake in the Julan area. The day will be very intense. (Translated by Bing)

  14. Tb nos despertamos con dos sismos de 1,5 y 1,1 de magnitud, 16 y 12 Km de profundidad al W de El Pinar

    TB we woke up with two earthquakes of 1.5 and 1.1 of magnitude, 16 and 12 Km deep at W El Pinar (Translated by Bing)

  15. Nice to see bob still looking so healthy and active this morning. I have to be out most of the day. Please take care of him folks and take any evidence of any increase if it happens, Nice to have reliable friends. 🙂

  16. Good morning. I am having some problems with the ACNcamara , it stops and starts continuously. I noticed Sissel that yours is fine in the video. Which page do you get it from? And thanks for the video this morning. Beautiful dark colors at that hour.

  17. Bob is busy today and she seems to have a friend: there is a second stain behind Bob with some bubbles or pyroclasts.

  18. Is the Ustream webcam a mirrored image?
    On the movistar cam I saw the helicopter flying towards the left, where on the Ustream cam it was flying to the right?????

    • Still throwing stones – but they seem to be less steamy. May be light conditions or these stones are a bit cooler.

  19. Two more earthquakes:
    07/01/2012 10:51:53 27.6366 -18.0602 13.9 1 mbLg SW EL PINAR. – El Hierro
    07/01/2012 11:30:48 29.1035 -14.2120 15.2 2.1 mbLg ATLÁNTICO-CANARIAS

  20. Helicopter very low now over the steamy area (also gives an idea of size, that thing is much bigger than I thought!):

    • But take a look at the whole are that is throwing up steamy pyroclasts – its a lot bigger than the main jacuzzi area, and also – have you noticed a darker “oily” stain in front of the jacuzzi?

      • Yes, I noticed that smoking pyroclasts are coming out as far as up to 1/5 of the screen starting from the left, in the same line as the jacuzzi.
        And yes, there is a darker area in front, but not sure if that’s just caused by the waves or is there something there? It’s hard to tell from the webcam.

      • Nice one 🙂

        I like the mirage effect (water on top of water, odd) that you can currently see on the movistar webcam, but it does make it difficult to see whether there is anything happening out there. I think there is but then again, it could just be the sun.

      • It is NOT the sun; it is a very definite cloud, and if you look when the Ustream cam zooms out, the dark patch in the sky above the jacuzzi (slightly to the right), does not move significantly with the wind.

        If I were in La Restinga I would be checking the air quality frequently.

        I cannot get the movistar webcam at the moment so I can’t compare the images.

        • Movistar Eruption site cam is switching now constantly between two different spots.

          Someone with a lot of clout is desperatly trying to see better. It looks like it is even switching angles now.

        • The movistar cam is showing what I would expect from the weather forecast.

          The first mivostar pic seems to be looking to the left of the area on my “clouds” pic.

          Too much sun on the second picture to make anything out, excpet that it shows that my pic from Ustream is local to Bob.

        • There are several weather related things going on.
          Remnants of some sort of fog passing from left to right, then cloudshadows moving more slowly. So it is hard to see.
          But when they flipped the Movistar back and forth it was rather clear that there was a smaller thing going in the other angle. But, I think both are Bob, it is just that they where checking two parts of Bob that is active. To me it looked like Bob is active on two different parts of the crater today.

        • If you mean the very dark cloud shadows in the sea in the foreground, they probably are just that. But there is no fog in the weather forecast and at the time I took the pictures, no visible cloud on the forecast or weather satellite. So cooler air hitting warmer water / air from Bob?

          It is the darker patch of cloud that seems to be hanging over Bob et al rather that seems to be more local. The colour is very reminiscent of smog.

        • Nah, the fog I saw came from left and moved to the right…
          I would guess some cold airstream coming down the mountain hittin the warm moist water air.
          Saw that quite often in the Carribies.

  21. Oh, and forgot to say, I’ve got both the panorama and eruption site movistar webcam’s back now. Thanks Carl! 🙂

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