Tag Archive: National Geographic Institute


El Hierro island
El Hierro island
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

Two years after a new underwater volcano appeared offshore of El Hierro in the Canary Islands, earthquake swarms and a sudden change in height suggest a new eruption is brewing near the island’s villages, officials announced today (Dec. 27).

After the announcement, one of the largest temblors ever recorded at the volcanic island, a magnitude-5.1 earthquake, struck offshore of El Hierro at 12:46 p.m. ET (5:46 p.m. local time) today, the National Geographic Institute reported. Residents on the island reported strong shaking, and the quake was felt throughout the Canary Islands, according to news reports. The earthquake’s epicenter was 9 miles (15 kilometers) deep.

Before the earthquake struck early this afternoon, the island’s volcano monitoring agency, Pelvolca, had raised the volcanic eruption risk for El Hierro to “yellow.” This warning means that activity is increasing at the volcano, but no eruption is imminent. A similar burst of activity prompted a yellow warning in June 2012, but the volcano soon quieted down.


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Spain sees link between quakes and offshore gas storage plant

A platform, part of the Castor Project, located in the Ebro Delta off the coast of Alcanar, stands at sea on October 2, 2013 (AFP, Lluis Gene)



Madrid — Spain’s government said Thursday that a wave of small earthquakes that have rattled the country’s eastern coast could be caused by a large offshore gas storage plant.

Over 300 earthquakes have struck the Gulf of Valencia, a zone not normally known for seismic activity, over the past month, according to Spain’s National Geographic Institute. The quakes have not caused any damage but have frightened residents.

The strongest, a 4.2 magnitude earthquake, hit in the early hours of Tuesday.

Two earthquakes measuring 4.1 struck the region late on Wednesday.

Environmentalists blame the earthquakes on the injection of gas into a giant underground gas storage facility located in the Gulf of Valencia but the government has up to now said there was no confirmed link.

The Castor storage plant aims to store gas in a depleted oil reservoir 1.7 kilometres (1.05 miles) under the Mediterranean Sea and send it via a pipeline to Spain’s national grid.

“There seems to be a correlation, a direct relationship between the gas injection in the underground storage facility which is 22 kilometres from the coast and the microearthquakes that have occurred,” Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria said in an interview with radio Cadena Cope.

Spanish firm Escal UGS which owns and operated the Castor storage plant stopped injecting gas into the underground reservoir on June 16.


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Earth Watch Report  –  Earthquakes

 photo 32magnitudeearthquakeCanaryIslands-LaRestinga_zps736cf8fe.jpg

02.04.2013 Earthquake Canary-Islands (Esp.) Province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, [El Hierro Region] Damage level Details

Earthquake in Canary-Islands (Esp.) on Tuesday, 02 April, 2013 at 03:24 (03:24 AM) UTC.

The most violent earthquake since the volcanic eruptions of summer 2011 has rocked the island of El Hierro, leading regional authorities to declare a state of pre-emergency. Having said just days ago that a major tremor possibly endangering the population was ‘unlikely’, the latest quake – measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale – has made them rethink. Until now, quakes of up to 4.3 were said to be ‘nothing to worry about’ – other than the risk of rockfalls in tunnels which were being carefully monitored with a view to closing at the first hint of danger – given that they were said to be between 12 and 20 kilometres underground. A quake on the mainland in Lorca (Murcia) in May 2011 measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale turned the city to rubble and left nine dead, dozens injured and thousands homeless – but experts say the severity of it was largely due to the fact that it was only a kilometre underground, which heightened its intensity. Volcanologists from the National Geographic Institute will continue to monitor the situation. They believe another underwater eruption off the coast – this time near La Frontera rather than La Restinga, as in summer 2011 – may be on the cards.