Scientists descend by submarine to study El Hierro volcano

8 FEBRUARY 2016. Gas emissions are still ongoing off the coast of El Hierro. The volcanic surroundings of the Canary island of El Hierro are continually studied by seismologists and vulcanologists, especially since the eruptions just off the coast in 2011 and 2012, and this week a team of Scientists descend by submarine to study El Hierro volcano scientists led by the German GEOMAR institute will descend to the sea bed by submarine to see the site for themselves.
Joining the German team will be one member of the Spanish Oceanographic Society and a representative of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
This will be the first time that a manned submarine has descended to the underwater volcano off El Hierro, with Eugenio Fraile of the Centro Oceanográfico de Canarias and Magdalena Santana from the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria boarding the Jago craft, which measures just 3.2 metres in length and 2.5 metres in height. The Jago can reach depths of 400 metres, and can stay underwater for as long as four days.
The purpose of the mission is not only to see the volcano at first hand but also to determine which are the best locations for taking measurements and samples. In this way the aim is to quantify the effects of the gas releases which are still occurring under the surface of the Atlantic, and at the same time the scientists will be retrieving high-precision seismometers which were installed at the location last year.
Armed with all of the information, the eventual objective is to learn more about the processes by which the newest of the Canary islands were formed.