Ready to blow? Homes evacuated on Canary Island as underwater volcano spews molten rock 60ft into the air
Ships ordered away from port and planes banned from flying over El Hierro
Sea of brown magma bubbling up just off the coast
By Chris Parsons
7th November 2011
Homes have been evacuated and roads closed on the southern-most Canary Island following a government-issued warning about a possible volcanic eruption.
The southern tip of El Hierro was shaken by a 4.3-magnitude quake late on Saturday as an underwater volcano just off the coast started spewing matter some 60ft into the air.
The island, which has 500 volcanic cones, has experienced more than 10,000 tremors in the past four months.
Renewed fears of an eruption came as vast quantities of magma – the molten rock from just under the earth’s crust – began bubbling into the sea off the port of La Restinga.
Witnessess said that explosive plumes and jets could be seen on the ocean surface from the underwater volcano which began erupting last month. Some of the material is being ejected as high as 60ft into the air.
The regional government of the Spanish Canary Island issued a ‘yellow’ volcanic eruption alert – the second on a four-level scale.
La Restinga’s 600 residents were evacuated last week after the volcanic activity began.
Now new evacuations have been called for people living along the southern end of the island. Authorities have also shut down access to La Restinga.