A second volcanic eruption off the coast of the island of El Hierro in the Canary Islands could be on the point of happening, scientists warned today.
The stark warning came just over a week after the end of the first eruption, which forced a village on the island closest to the volcano to be evacuated.
An off-shore, underwater eruption of the volcano was first observed on October 10, after weeks of earthquakes and harmonic tremors had been detected. Even after the first eruption came to an end last week, the tremors and earthquake swarms continued. Signs also indicate that if another eruption is to occur, it will take place at a different location to the north of the last eruption.
Experts have met with government members of the Canary Islands to discuss the new developments. Contingency plans have been put into place should the situation worsen and a full scale evacuation of the island is needed. El Hierro is the smallest of the Canary Islands and has a population of approximately 10,000 residents.
There is evidence of at least three major landslides caused by the volcano that have affected El Hierro in the last few hundred thousand years. The most recent of these was the 'El Golfo' landslide that occurred about 15 thousand years ago, involving collapse of the northern flank of the island, which is believed to have created a tsunami estimated to have reached a height of 100 meters (328 feet).