A degassing process, the main hypothesis of the seismic swarm under Teide: “It is not worrying”

Itahiza Domínguez, seismologist at the National Geographic Institute (IGN), calculates that the energy released by the sum of the 458 seismic movements detected in the Cañadas del Teide, southwest of Pico Viejo, in the last few hours “would reach an earthquake of magnitude 2 or a little more”.

The main hypothesis is that it is related to a degassing process, since under the island of Tenerife there is “hot material” and there may be “small contributions that accumulate over years”, although “this is difficult to say with total certainty ”.

In statements to Efe, Domínguez admits that a seismic swarm “is not seen every day”, although in the last six years there have been three similar ones, with similar characteristics, and in the same area and depth.

The one detected in the early hours of this Friday was characterized by “very close” earthquakes with a magnitude less than 1 and “close to 0”, and in fact “it was difficult to locate them -13 of them- because they are very weak.”

It was possible to detect, explains Domínguez, because in Tenerife “the sensitivity is very good”, not so much because of the instruments deployed but thanks to the “geology” of the island, since its terrain is “more compacted” than, for example, La Palma or El Hierro, where there have been more recent eruptions, which allows better transmission of seismic waves.

Another of Tenerife’s peculiarities, illustrates the IGN expert, is that it is “very active” when it comes to earthquakes.

There are on average about 1,000 a year, although in 2004 there was a spike and it rose to 3,000, and since then there have been ups and downs; in La Palma until five years ago it was 20 earthquakes, and in El Hierro, 50 before the Tagoro underwater volcano emerged.

Itahiza Domínguez emphasizes that there are no other signs, such as surface deformation, that “would be worrying.”

And although in Tenerife the scientific community has not had the opportunity to experience an “instrumental eruption”, it is known from historical references that these have been preceded by “a lot of seismicity felt by the population”, and for now “there is nothing like that ”.

Therefore, he believes that there is no reason for concern, although he warns: “This is something we have to live with and we cannot rule out that one day there will be an eruption. We don’t know if in ten or a hundred years… the important thing is to be prepared”, he stresses.

In this sense, he emphasizes that “the good thing” is that the eruptions “warn”, as happened in La Palma, which had been showing signs for a few years.

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