March 4, 2021

Swarm of 30 earthquakes in five points of Tenerife – The Province


A new swarm of small earthquakes (the most powerful reached a 2.2 on the Ritcher scale) was detected by the National Geographic Institute (IGN) and the Canarian Volcanological Institute (Involcan) at dawn of Yesterday in different areas of Tenerife. Specifically, they were registered 25 tremors of volcanic type on land with epicenters in the east of Vilaflor and the northeast of Adeje, as well as another five in the sea of ​​tectonic type off the coast of Güímar, Arico and Candelaria, although closer to the Puertito de Güímar. As reported by the IGN yesterday, none of the 30 earthquakes detected in the last hours by their instruments were felt by the population. Of the 25 on land, the most powerful reached a magnitude of 2.2 on the Richter scale and at depths of between 5 and 11 kilometers.

The Institute yesterday tried to make clear that this new swarm on land is located in an area with special microseismic activity, detected with assiduity in recent months, and without entailing any type of risk for the population, Explain. In this sense, and according to the note sent to the media by the IGN, it is an activity that goes into "the parameters of normality in active volcanic zones, such as the island of Tenerife".

In the case of these 25 earthquakes in Adeje and Vilaflor, the devices registered between 02:04 and 04:04 hours yesterday morning. The Institute also explained yesterday that, since last Saturday at 03:30 hours and until 01:32 on Tuesday, 28 earthquakes were located southeast of the Puertito de Güímar with magnitudes of 0.6 to 2.9 and depths between 17 and 31 kilometers, tremors that have not been felt by the population either. Five of them also occurred early yesterday.

It is the same area, according to the IGN, in which there was a similar activity at the beginning of June, with 20 earthquakes, and which tends to accommodate this type of phenomenon because between Gran Canaria and Tenerife the region with the most activity is located seismic in the Canary Islands. Hence, the institute concludes that what is detected in this case remains "compatible with the existing fund activity between the two islands."

The expert Luca D'Auria (Involcan) indicated yesterday that the activity of the last hours does not suppose any novelty with respect to the last years, but yes reinforces the anomaly detected around the Teide volcano since 2016, when the amount of carbon dioxide and toxicity increases. Make clear that everything points to that it is due to changes in the pressure of fluids, for example of water, and that does not mean that it is going to take place, far from it, a dangerous eruption or earthquake. He emphasizes that, "about 20 years ago, it would not have been possible for us to hear these tremors because of the instrumentation that was then, something that is now possible, apart from the fact that much more scientific monitoring is being done". "It could be a dynamic of the volcano, but not to worry," he said.

Regarding the swarms in the sea in front of Güímar, Arico and Candelaria, stresses that it is a tectonic, non-volcanic nature, and that there are existing faults between Tenerife and Gran Canaria that are active, but do not pose a risk. A situation that also occurs in the north of the islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote and in areas of La Palma.

Just between Tenerife and Gran Canaria, the largest earthquake suffered by the Archipelago occurred on May 1, 1989 in Tenerife, with a magnitude that reached 5.3 degrees and an epicenter located 15 kilometers from the coast of Güímar. This movement took totally by surprise to the population, that left alarmed to the street in the zones where felt more, like Santa Cruz or the Valley of Güímar, full dawn, whenever the earthquake took place at 2:30 hours.

Tenerife is usually the island with the highest number of earthquakes and the second strongest was on February 5, 2010, when it reached 4.1 degrees. In the Islands, the average number of earthquakes per year is over 127, although in the vast majority the population does not feel them.

Anomalous phenomenon on the Teide since 2016

As Luca D'Auria emphasizes, the seismic activity that is taking place in the volcano of Teide It is common in recent years, but it is an anomaly detected since 2016, although it is not dangerous. In the last month, movements in municipalities of the South of Tenerife have been constant, mainly in Vilaflor, but also in Adeje and, to a lesser extent, in Fasnia, Guía de Isora or La Guancha.

There have also been movements in El Hierro and, in fact, last Monday there was one in La Frontera of 2.2 and another of 1.9 on the Ritcher scale. Moreover, this Island has the most activity in the IGN registries of the last three months, especially in the Northwest and Southwest areas, in the municipalities of El Pinar and La Frontera and, especially, in the area of ​​the Sea of las Calmas, where the volcanic crisis of 2011 occurred. In addition, the great activity between Tenerife and Gran Canaria and in the South of Tenerife can be seen.

According to a note from the Canarian Volcanological Institute, the swarm around the Teide "does not imply, in the short term, any significant change in the state of the volcano." It also clarifies that "the origin of this seismicity is related to the pressurization of the volcanic-hydrothermal system of Tenerife, caused by the injection of fluids of magmatic origin". According to their data, the maximum magnitude was 1.6 and there were 25 "volcano-tectonic events", in Vilaflor and with a depth of about 8 kilometers.

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