January 21, 2022 4:35 pm

The island of La Palma registers thousands of small earthquakes due to a possible incursion of magma

An earthquake of 3.2 on the Richter scale It has been located at 10.25 this Wednesday at a depth of between 7 and 9 kilometers in the municipality of Palma de Step, as reported by the National Geographic Institute (IGN). Around 60 of the more than 90 earthquakes detected throughout yesterday have been registered in the vicinity of the town. There have also been seismic movements in the towns of Fuencaliente and Tazacorte.

The pressure of this magma reservoir on the subsoil of the island is resulting in a myriad of small earthquakes

This is the telluric movement of highest magnitude of those who have registered in The Palm since the seismic event began on September 11. Since that day, 4,222 small tremors have been concatenated almost without interruption, of which 920 have been located.

A reservoir of magma, the probable trigger

In parallel, the Canary Islands Volcanological Institute (Involcan) has encrypted the volume of the reservoir magma that could be causing the current seismic movement on La Palma in 11 million cubic meters (11 Hm3), the equivalent of a quarter of the volcanic materials emitted by the last eruption recorded on the island, that of Teneguía, 50 years ago.

The pressure of this magma reservoir On the subsoil of the island, a myriad of small earthquakes are resulting, which have been registering for days the different surveillance systems installed around the Cumbre Vieja.

Geographical situation of the earthquakes on the island of La Palma / IGN.

As a result of the tremors, an elevation of the land has been reported that yesterday reached the six centimeters. Involcán itself describes the size of this magma reservoir as “small”. In fact, it is if it is compared with the one that produced the last eruption on the island of La Palma, that of Teneguía. In 2011 another underwater volcanic eruption occurred on the island of The iron.

Involcán and the National Geological Institute warn that earthquakes may not necessarily end in an eruption. There is also the possibility that the process will stop

According to an updated study published by the Geological Society of Spain in 2014, the eruption of Teneguía ejected 43.01 million cubic meters of volcanic materials during the 24 days that the eruption lasted, at an average of 1.79 million cubic meters per day.

The different organizations that participate in the surveillance of the situation of La Palma – the Involcán and the National Geological Institute, among others – agree that the new “seismic swarm” that the island lives, located in the surroundings of the Old Summit, is of magmatic origin, and is part of a process that in recent days seems to have accelerated.

However, both institutions warn that earthquakes may not necessarily end in an eruption. There is also the possibility that the process will stop.

That is why the volcanic risk traffic light on La Palma remains on yellow (level 2 of 4), since clearly pre-eruptive phenomena have not yet been detected, which would raise the bar to Orange (3).

Rights: Creative Commons.


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