Updated 6 November: Thanks to the British tabloids, people are obviously still concerned about the possibility of Teide erupting, so once again I’ll reiterate the following, which I posted HERE during a seismic cluster last October. Naturally, any Spanish content will be posted in English if there is any urgent situation, by me, as well as the British Consular and Foreign Office authorities.
The Express article also attempts to cause fear by implying that there is neither programme nor education about what to do in the event of an eruption, nor an evacuation protocol. All of these claims are false. The Canarian Government held its latest of several simulation exercises only two years ago, imagining an explosive grade 5 eruption from Teide’s Pico Viejo (link). In terms of education, documents are made available to schools by Protección Civil, and there is THIS from INVOLCAN: these things are taught to the public here from childhood!
Finally, the idea that “we need a plan” is idiotic. There is already a plan, a protocol, and a Government agency in place. We live on an active volcano so the idea that people are whistling into the wind and living on hope is simply insulting to the authorities here. The Canarian Government’s Plan Especial de Protección Civil y Atención de Emergencias por riesgo volcánico en la Comunidad Autónoma de Canarias (Pevolca) is enshrined in legislation, and annex 2 of the document is a public information and advice leaflet: you can read it HERE.
Updated 2 November 5pm: In view of this morning’s various misleading reports in the British tabloids, the Canarian Vulcanology Institute has issued a formal statement about the recent seismic tremors in Tenerife. INVOLCAN says:
The volcanic activity on Tenerife is typical of a dormant volcano
Volcano monitoring on Tenerife follows the highest international standards
Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife (02/11/2017). Tenerife is an oceanic active volcanic island and as a typical active volcanic system, has background seismic activity related to its volcanism. Seismic swarms are common in active volcanoes even during dormant periods, and Tenerife is currently experiencing a period of dormant volcanic activity.
The volcano-monitoring programme on Tenerife follows the highest international standards using permanent networks of instruments, as well as periodic scientific campaigns of observation. These instruments enable us to monitor the seismicity, gas emissions and ground deformation with an unprecedented level of detail.
Therefore, volcanism makes Tenerife Island an attractive tourist destination and the existence of a multidisciplinary programme for its volcanic surveillance, following the guidelines of the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI), also makes Tenerife a safe tourist destination.
In addition to the volcano-monitoring programme, Tenerife island – as well as the other oceanic active volcanoes in the Canaries – counts on a Special Plan of Civil Protection and Emergency Response for Volcanic Risk in the Canary Islands (PEVOLCA) to respond to any kind of volcanic emergency. According to the indications of PEVOLCA, the volcano alert level is currently in GREEN position, the lowest one; therefore, people can carry out their activities normally.
Updated 2 November: Given the state of my inbox this morning, The Sun has run an article saying that Teide is active and about to blow because of a surge of earthquakes. I haven’t seen the paper or its article, but can confirm from expert and official sources here that Teide is indeed an active volcano, in the sense that it is not a dormant volcano. Moreover, there has been another cluster of tremors over the past week or so, and as with the cluster I reported below at the beginning of October, all have been very minor. It is important to note there are always tremors, and this is generally considered by seismologists to be a good thing because it means volcanic pressure doesn’t build up.
Most important, however, when it comes to dealing with sensationalized reports in the British press, part of which seems to salivate at the prospect of a krakatoan-level eruption on the edge of Europe, is to understand that there is constant seismic monitoring on all the islands precisely because the Canaries is an active volcanic archipelago. Independent vulcanological, seismological and geological experts, often University academics engaged with the monitoring on an ongoing basis, say that everything they are seeing is within the range of normal.
These experts acknowledge that they have increased monitoring in La Palma because it is behaving in an unprecedented way, though still within a range of behaviours that they could expect, and most significantly, without any surface deformation, and so they are absolutely ruling out the possibility of an eruption there. Tenerife, however, is having clusters along the lines that we have seen before in previous years, perhaps most notably 2004 when there were several similar clusters, and if anything, seismologists are pleased because it increases the data they receive and therefore their knowledge about the Teide systems, and because it means that while the earth might tremor, the pressure is going to be dispersed … and disappoint the tabloid press by failing to erupt.
Original post 1 October: The earth has moved for some in the Canaries over the last few days, after a cluster of seismic tremors in Tenerife and La Palma, as well as in the sea between Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Most active were the tremors in Guía de Isora, in the area above Puerto Santiago, where a Richter 2.4 tremor on Friday afternoon at a depth of only 5km was followed by another yesterday afternoon of 1.7 at a depth of 16km. This was around the same time as a tremor of 1.6 at 14km under Vilaflor. Arico too had three tremors between Wednesday and Friday. Seismologists say that the movement is well within normal volcanic activity.