One of the Canary Islands, popular with Irish travelers to Spain, could be hit by a volcanic eruption in days or weeks.
The authorities of the Spanish island of La Palma have issued a warning that a sudden surge in seismic activity could lead to the imminent eruption of the Teneguia volcano.
The Spanish National Geographic Institute has found 4,222 quakes in a so-called “swarm of earthquakes” in the Cumbre Vieja National Park around the volcano in the extreme south of the island.
La Palma was put on Tuesday by the regional government of the Canaries in yellow alarm because of an outbreak, the second highest of a four-stage warning system.
While there is still no clear evidence of an impending outbreak, the government warned on Thursday that the situation could change quickly.
“Even more intense earthquakes are expected in the coming days,” said a statement, as reported by Reuters.
According to the Canary Islands Volcanic Institute, more than 11 million cubic meters of magma have seeped into Cumbre Vieja in the last few days.
This swarm of earthquakes began on September 11th and since then more than 4,200 quakes have been registered.
While almost all of these were small in magnitude, one recorded on Wednesday measured more than 3 on the Richter scale.
Maria Jose Blanco, director of the National Geographic Institute (IGN) in the Canary Islands, told El Pais newspaper: “We cannot make any short-term forecast.
“But everything indicates that it will develop into earthquakes of greater magnitude, which will be more intense and will be perceived by the population.”
La Palma is the most volcanic of the Canary Islands in Spain.
Teneguia last erupted in 1971, which was the last surface eruption in Spain.
However, this current wave of earthquakes is unlikely to pose a threat to human life as experts claim that people can continue their lives as usual.
“In 80% of the cases, these processes remain underground and do not lead to a volcanic eruption,” said Nemesio Perez, director of the Institute for Volcanology of the Canary Islands (INVOLCAN) on Monday.
“We are moving from a situation of normality to a situation of high alert.
“We recognize a change in seismic activity and recommend that the population pay attention to information from the authorities.”