January 20, 2022 4:41 pm

The Canary Islands maintain the yellow alert due to the increase in soil deformation on La Palma

In the last hours of yesterday, the systems indicated a decrease in the simian activity on the island of The Palm, but they detected that the deformation of the soil in the area of ​​the Old Summit it had risen to 10 centimeters. For this reason, the General Directorate of Security and Emergencies of the Government of the Canary Islands has agreed to maintain the yellow warning traffic light, a protocol of risk established to manage this type of phenomenon.

Seismic swarms are common in many volcanoes. There is no rule of thumb to know if they will be the prelude to a rash or not.

Jordi Díaz, seismologist

Experts warn that the series of more than 4,200 earthquakes that have occurred since last Saturday, called seismic swarm –A more or less continuous series over time of earthquakes located in a specific area, which usually starts suddenly– continues and can have “a rapid short-term evolution”. In addition, it would be probable that felt earthquakes of greater intensity would occur. At present, the activity is moving in a northwesterly direction.

“It is frequent that seismic swarms are registered in many volcanoes. There is no rule to know if they will be the prelude to an eruption or not ”, he explains to SINC Jordi Díaz, seismologist at the Barcelona Geosciences Center of the CSIC (GEO3BCN). For the researcher, the La Palma series “not exceptional”. “There have already been other similar ones, both in this and in other Canary Islands,” he stresses, but it is not known if this series will last only a few days or will last weeks or months.

Will it end in a volcanic eruption?

Until now, although it is recommended to keep the volcanic traffic light in yellow in the Cumbre Vieja area, it is not ruled out that the activity will intensify in the short term. At the moment, the earthquakes registered are of small magnitude, “hardly felt by the population,” says Díaz. The largest earthquake occurred on Tuesday and had a magnitude of 3.9.

Yesterday at noon, the National Geographic Institute It located three earthquakes in El Paso, two of magnitude 3.1 and another of 2.8, at depths ranging between 7 and 9 kilometers, in addition to the 2.3 early morning tremor in Fuencaliente.

For an eruption to occur, an increase in seismicity and surface deformation would have to be generated in the previous hours, which will allow taking the appropriate measures

Meanwhile, shallow seismicity has been maintained, between 1 and 3 kilometers deep, of low magnitude, and a seismicity at intermediate depths, between 4 and 5 kilometers, has been added in the last 12 hours.

According to seismologists, this type of swarms is associated with magma movements inside the volcanic building. In the case of La Palma, the hypocenters are shallower, “which may suggest a magmatic chamber closer to the surface,” says Díaz. In addition, the deformation has increased and reaching an accumulated value of 10 centimeters, very localized in the environment of the seismicity.

“We have no way of predicting whether the series will end in an eruption or not. The most frequent is that the eruption does not take place ”, informs the seismologist. According to him, for this to happen, an increase in seismicity and surface deformation would have to be generated in the previous hours, “which will allow taking the Measures”, He emphasizes.

For now, the General Directorate of Security and Emergencies has reported that the continuous activity monitoring and communicate any significant changes that are observed.

Source: SINC / EFE

Rights: Creative Commons.


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