Spain: Researchers at the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO, Ministry of Science and Innovation) mapped a young underwater volcano in high resolution. They confirmed the birth of volcano using GIS. For the first time, it happened that such a young underwater volcano has been mapped in a very short time period, according to Juan Acosta, head of the IEO campaign set to study the volcanic cone that emerged this month near El Hierro island in the Canaries.
The volcanic cone has reached a height of 100 m and the lava tongue flows down its side, even though its activity has slowed down in the past few days.
First time, On the October 9, scientists at Spain’s National Geographic Institute (Spanish Ministry of Development) detected the initial seismic movements that gave way to the birth of the underwater volcano. Then, by the October 24, scientists on board the IEO’s ship Ramón Margalef had already completed the bathymetry (mapping of the sea bed) with unprecedented precision (less than 10 metres), by the remote observation submarine Liropus.
In 1998, within the framework in Spanish Exclusive Economic Zone, researchers of the IEO and Spain’s Marine Hydrographic Institute (Spanish Ministry of Defence) also mapped the same area from within the oceanographic ship Hespérides. Using a GIS, these images have now been superimposed onto those just taken and thus the birth of the volcano has been confirmed.
The base of the volcano lies at a depth of 300 m. It is conical and 100 m high with a base diameter of 700 m and a crater width of 120 m. The volume of the volcano is around 0.012 km3, 0.07 km3 of which is made up of its lava tongue that is slowly filling the adjacent valley.
Scientists have also created graphs of the gas plumes that are consistently coming out of the main crater and the surrounding cracks. However, at present the possible development and risks of the volcano have not been officially declared. Their mission is to provide data to those in charge of the Special Civil Protection Plan for Emergency Volcanic Risk in the Canary Islands (PEVOLCA) as a way of aiding them in the decision making process.
Named Bimbache after the first settlers of El Hierro Island, this scientific campaign is currently entering its second phase under the orders of the researcher Francisco Sánchez who is also from the IEO.