Volcanic Eruption in Canary Islands Produces Large Sea Stains

The underwater volcanic eruptions that began on Monday are continuing off the coast of the Canary Island of El Hierro. On Tuesday, over 600 people in the southernmost town of La Restinga were evacuated from their homes. They remained out of their homes on Friday as scientists continued to assess the situation.

As the photos below show, two large green stains are now visible on the surface of Las Calmas Sea. 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.

El Hierro, which means iron in Spanish, was designated by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve in 2000 with 60% of its territory protected. It is currently the most volcanically active of the Canaries and has the largest number of volcanoes, including over 500 open sky cones, another 300 covered by the most recent outflows, and some 70 caves and volcanic galleries.

An aerial view shows a stained area in the sea caused by submarine eruption, on the south coast of the Canary Island of El Hierro October 13, 2011. Officials in the volcanic island of El Hierro ordered the preventive evacuation of the village of La Restinga on Tuesday, after submarine eruptions 5 km (3 miles) from the island. (REUTERS / Gobierno de Canarias)

Spain’s civil guards look at a stained area in the sea caused by submarine eruption, on the south coast of the Canary Island of El Hierro October 13, 2011. (REUTERS / BORJA SUAREZ)

A general view shows a stained area (top) in the sea caused by submarine eruption, on the south coast of the Canary Island of El Hierro October 13, 2011. (REUTERS / BORJA SUAREZ)

A man uses a pair of binoculars to scan a stained area in the sea caused by submarine eruption, from Pinar village, on the south coast of the Canary Island of El Hierro October 13, 2011. (REUTERS / BORJA SUAREZ)

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