Over the past week or so, the geological upheaval in the Canary Islands has caused jets of water to rise more than 20 metres into the air and locals claim to have even seen rocks thrown out of the sea. Measurements taken by researchers show that seething water is significantly warmer than the surrounding sea. The culprit is the Canarian hotspot — the islands are underlain by a deep magma plume that is believed to have first appeared 60 million years ago.
Since July 2011, more than 10,000 small earthquakes have shaken the island of El Hierro and since October they’ve grown significantly stronger, with some surpassing four on the Richter scale. At the start of November, residents in the southern part of the island had to leave their homes after tremors hit the area and supherous gases drifted through. The Canary Islands’ volcanology institute, Involcan, has reported a three-fold increase in carbon dioxide levels.
Since then, however, the quakes have shifted from the south of the island to the north. While the southern tremors occurred at a depth of more than 10km, the northern ones have moved upwards and Spain’s national geographic institute has warned that there could be minor eruptions in or near the El Golfo valley on the northern coast of the island.
For the moment, however, there is no immediate risk of major surface eruption, so locals are canvassing for names for the imminent new territory. Proposed names, according to Spiegel Online, include “The Discovery”, “Atlantis”, and “The Best”.