Risk of volcanic eruption off Spain’s island subsides

Risk of volcanic eruption off Spain’s island subsides
# 22 October 2011 19:48 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Residents of the village of La Restinga on the island of El Hierro were allowed on Saturday to return to their homes,as the risk of a volcanic eruption subsides, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Although the stain in the sea caused by sulphur emitted by the underwater volcano off the coast of the most westerly of the Spanish controlled Canary Islands now surrounds much area of the island, indicators point to the eruption losing strength.

As a result the residents of La Restinga, the village closest to the site of the eruption began to return to their homes on Friday night. They had previously been allowed to make only a brief return to their houses in order to collect essential possessions.

The permission to allow the residents to return to their village, which has an economy based on tourism and fishing, comes in the wake of explanations by Spanish scientists on Thursday.

Carmen Lopez, of the Spanish National Geographic Institute and Joan Marti of the Board of Scientific Investigation said that the eruption was less powerful than first predicted.

Early predictions had spoken of a four stage eruption resulting in magma expelled to the surface creating a new island.

That now looks a remote possibility after Lopez said indicators such as the strength and depth of earth tremors have been falling and there has been an overall decrease in seismic activity.

Marti was more cautious and said that although it could be that an eruption with various phases could still happen, there was no evidence to show that it was the case in El Hierro. He said event will eventually turn out to be an underwater eruption like many others in the region, which is situated close to a fault line in the Atlantic Ocean.

Scientists will now continue to monitor the situation until readings return to the normal levels seen until July when seismic activity was first detected.