250 Earthquakes in Canary Islands spark fears of Volcanic Eruption
8 May, 2018
MORE than 270 earthquakes have been recorded in just ten days near Spain’s Canary Islands raising fears of a volcanic eruption. If the quakes spread to the island of LaPalma, an unstable volcano there could collapse, sending a Tsunami to the US east coast.
The quakes have struck near Tenerife and Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands where there is a huge submarine fault between the two islands.
Spain’s National Geographic Institute said the biggest recent quake reached a magnitude of 3.2 on the Richter scale at only about 35km from Puerto La Luz in Gran Canaria.
A report said the fault line has not been active in recent times, but it added, “What if it started spewing magma again? And what if it was reactivating the Teide volcano? That would be cataclysmic.”
The Mount Teide volcano on Tenerife sits nearby. The National Park draws three million visitors yearly and the volcano's 3,718-metre (12,198 ft) summit is the highest point in Spain and the highest point above sea level in the islands of the Atlantic. The last eruption was on November 18, 1909.
The government has been urged to step in amid calls for an urgent meeting to discuss why the quakes are happening again.
But Emilio Carreño from Spain’s National Geographic Institute, said the majority of earthquakes registered in the past few days have been of tectonic origin, and ‘are not usually associated with volcanology.’
Carreño pointed out that all earthquakes are reviewed, especially those in the Canary Islands, because “the situation of the islands makes precision in locating the source more difficult.”
He added: “Right now in the peninsula there are quite a few places where these series of quakes are being recorded.
The map below shows where the present earthquake and eruption is feared, but look to the left (west) and you'll see the Island of LaPalma where the westward side of the island is a volcano so structurally weak, if it collapses into the sea, the US east coast would literally be washed away. Every major US city on the coast line would vanish.
Stepped-up tremors of unascertained reasons has scared one of the most popular holiday destination, the Canary islands, ahead of summer high season, raising fears devastating natural disasters. The local government holds an urgent meeting to discuss why might happen.
Almost 300 earthquakes have shaken the territory of the biggest islands of the Canary archipelago, Tenerife and Gran Canaria, over the last ten days. According to the Spanish National Geographic Institute, the biggest one, with a 3.2 magnitude of on the Richter scale, happened 35 km away from the Port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
The area is the home to the world's third-tallest volcano, Mount Teide and the National Park of the same name, which is incidentally one of the most visited tourist destinations, with lots of volcanos.
The research cited by the Daily Star, suggested that seismic activity has been caused by a submarine fault between the two major Canary Islands, which could lead to an eruption, similar to the recent Hawaiian disaster. Kilauea volcano there sent spit lava flows to the neighboring houses, forcing thousands to evacuate.
Fears that the Canary’s Teide volcano may be reactivated and fears of a mega-eruption forced the government to appoint an urgent meeting.
However, the director of the National Seismic Network from Spain's National Geographic Institute, Emilio Carreño, speaking to Canary News, suggested, that these minor quakes were of tectonic origin and are “not usually associated with volcanology."
“It is not unusual. Right now in the Peninsula there are quite a few places at which these series are being observed, it is common during any single month to register between 100 and 600 earthquakes in areas like in the Jódar area, or in Jaén, which can experience between 400 and 500 at the same time,” he told the media.