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“Don’t panic” message over La Palma quakes 

PAGE 1 LA PALMA QUAKE
Island steps up “best ever” monitoring

Scientists on the Canary island of La Palma have ruled out a volcanic eruption either on land or under the sea “in the short term” but say it isn’t impossible in the future.

An emergency committee meeting confirmed there had been a “new magmatic intru-sion” of low volume and very deep at 25 kilometres below land.

There have been 928 seismic movements since February 10th, of which 85 were in the same area.

Regional director of the National Geographic Institute, María José Blanco said there was no need for local residents or tourists to panic but they had to remember they lived within a “volcanically active territory”.

In 1971, she reminded, there had been an eruption of the Teneguía cone on La Palma, preceded by earth-quakes. One elderly fisherman died when he got too near the lava and was asphyxiated. Populated zones were not affected but there was some damage to properties and a beach was destroyed.

There was also an under-water eruption in El Hierro, another of the Canary islands, in 2011.

The new flurry of earth-quakes on La Palma occurred in the region of the Cumbre Vieja volcano and follow on from similar movements detected last October.

Measuring between 1.5 and 2.6 on the Richter scale, the new quakes are much deeper than the previous ones but no changes to the surface have been detected. None have been felt by the public.

Monitoring has been stepped up and it is now at the highest level it could be across La Palma, with around 20 seismic detection stations and geochemical testing.

The specially-convened meeting of the Scientific Committee of Evaluation and Monitoring of Volcanic Phenomena was attended by a range of experts in direct response to the swarms.

Deputy Minister of Environment of the Government of the Canary Islands, Blanca Pérez said that between March and April, the Spanish Institute of Oceanography will under-take a new campaign to study this seismology but has asssured that there is nothing to indicate that an underwater eruption or on land will happen.

An official statement re-leased after the meeting said: “The increase in earth-quakes detected in recent days on the island of La Palma is due to a new magmatic intrusion of low volume and deep (30 kilo-metres), which scientists do not link with a volcanic eruption in the short term.”

Scientists have assured that if there is a further swarm of quakes, the emergency committee will meet again and provide further information for the public.