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20 October 2011

Volcano Eruption in Canary-Islands (Esp.) on Friday, 14 October, 2011 at 03:35 (03:35 AM) UTC.

Image: Google Maps (Click on image for larger view.)

The volcanic eruption off the southern coast of the Canary Island of El Hierro appears to be subsiding and the evacuated residents of the southernmost village, La Restinga, were allowed to return to their homes on Sunday. Since the eruption was confirmed one week ago, the activity has remained submarine, producing an impressive discoloration of the ocean as volcanic gases and tephra are released from underwater vents. The sea stain has grown to almost half the size of the island itself, according to the latest satellite photos. The green stain is visible on the surface of the sea and in addition to the stains, officials at Spain's Instituto Geografico Nacional (IGN) report a strong smell of sulfur and the presence of dead fish floating on the surface. Scientists said the fish were likely killed by gas escaping from the subsea volcano. IGN confirms that the large stains come from two fissures on the sea bed, approximately 2,000 - 3,000 feet below the surface. The fissures are located less than 2.3 miles and 1.7 miles from the town of La Restinga. While they remain cautious, the hope is that these eruptions have eased some of the pressure and potential for eruptive activity occurring near the island.