Submarine Eruptions off El Hierro Canary Islands
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Submarine Eruptions off El Hierro, Canary Islands

January 15, 2012
In mid-January, 2012, three months after a submarine eruption began off the coast of El Hierro, Canary Islands, the volcano continued to dump a brew of lava balloons, steaming gas, bits of rock and other debris into the Atlantic Ocean. The milky green swirls south and east of the island mark where the debris is rising, and where it has been carried by ocean currents.

According to local reports, the eruption continues relatively unchanged, and is accompanied by continuous harmonic tremor. Earthquake activity has slightly increased in the past several days, with 2 to 3 earthquakes per day reported. Most of these are located 13-16 kilometers deep west beneath the southern rift zone, according to Volcano Discovery. In the previous month, most of the earthquakes occurred northwest of the island.

Over the last week, many steaming blocks of lava with orange flames were observed on some days, while other days were been calmer, with no or little lava observed floating to the surface. The staining of the water, and the bubbling of the volcanic “jacuzzi”, as locals call the roiling water, has continued unabated.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite captured this true-color image on January 12, 2012, when large stains curled along almost the entire eastern coastline and far out to sea.

Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

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