A massive earthquake swarm has been reported around the volcanic island of La Palma in the Canary Islands of Spain. The Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan) said there’s reason to believe the seismic swarm is due to magma slowly rising.
Involcan recorded more than 700 small earthquakes on La Palma near Cumbre Vieja volcano since last Saturday.
The largest rumble, a 3.4 on the Richter scale, was reported by Involcan on Tuesday morning. Most quakes are shallow and happen 5 to 7.4 miles down, suggesting that new magma is rising.
“Without a doubt, the current seismic swarm represents a significant change in the activity of the Cumbre Vieja volcano and is related to a process of magmatic intrusion under the island of La Palma,” Involcan warned.
According to The Sun, the Special Plan for Civil Protection and Attention to Volcanic Risk Emergencies (PEVOLCA) was activated due to the increased seismic activity.
For clues about a possible eruption. Local officials reported a sensor at the volcano took a reading of the “highest Helium-3 levels in 30-years.” The gas is considered a message from the mantel and may suggest future volcanic activity.
Cumbre Vieja volcano last erupted in 1971, considered one of the most active volcanoes of the Canary Islands. There have been fears an eruption could cause a megatsunami. Steven Ward first explained this theory in research from the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Santa Cruz, California, two decades ago.
The situation warrants close monitoring due to the possibility of volcanic activity.