Volcano Threat Sparks Evacuation In Canaries

Seismicity at El Hierro over the past few weeks, with most recent in red. Image courtesy of IGN.

Mike, you say, why should I care about earthquakes or the volcano in the Canaries?  Where are the Canaries, anyway?

Some 50,000 to 130,000 years ago a volcano in the Canaries collapsed into the Atlantic ocean and created a tsunami 300 feet high that raced across the sea in all directions including the east coast of North America.  Can you imagine a wall of water 30 stories high slamming into New York, or Washington D.C. or Florida.  The loss of life would be monumental.

El Hierro on the youngest island in the Canaries, which are offshore from Spain, has experienced over 8,000 quakes since mid-June and scientiests are fearful that it will soon erupt.  In fact, just this week “…the volcanic seismicity has prompted the closure of a tunnel on the island and 300 people have been evacuated to temporary shelters for fear of earthquake-triggered landslides.”

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