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Creation of a New Canary Island?

Friday October 28, 2011

Creation of a New Canary Island?

Speculation is mounting in the Spanish media that the eruptions taking place off the coast of El Hierro could eventually lead to the creation of a new Canary island. With over 500 possible names already suggested should this prove to be the case. So far, a crater of 120 metres in width has emerged under the water at a depth of approximately 300 metres.

This activity has been carefully monitored over the last three weeks to ensure that local residents on El Hierro are not in any danger of being engulfed by the emerging volcano. And the most recent spate of underwater lava flow comes hard on the heels of several months of seismic activity in the area, with as many as 10,000 quakes being noted since earlier in the summer. However, none of the tremors has been particularly strong, with the largest registering only 3.2 on the richter scale and with its epicentre offshore.

At present, as the eruptions are not causing a direct threat to the local population, there is far more speculation about what a new island should be called and who would have a claim on this newly made territory. More than 500 names have been put forward, including 'Atlantis'.

The top of the crater is currently still some 150 metres below the surface of the water but there is speculation that the volcano could continue to increase in size and rise out of the sea to form a completely new island. Some volcanologists are speculating that this is more than possible because El Hierro is the youngest island of the Canarian archipelago and reputedly has a large reservoir of magma beneath its surface that has yet to be expended.

At present, the only prohibition put in place for residents of El Hierro is that swimming in the sea should be avoided for the foreseeable future, as so much ash has been dispersed into the water by the eruptions that it may constitute a health hazard.

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