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Earth Science

Canary Islands Eruption Could Create New Land 93

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-call-dibs dept.
wanzeo writes "An undersea volcano is erupting off the coast of the Canary Islands, bringing the potential for new land formation. The lava peak has grown 100 meters from the ocean floor, and is now just 70 meters from the surface. It has been seen ejecting rocks from the sea and producing jets of water 20 meters high. Increasing seismic activity has been monitored since July, an indication that magma is rapidly moving toward the surface. Local residents have been evacuated because of the potential danger from falling rocks or violent steam explosions if the lava gets too close."
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Canary Islands Eruption Could Create New Land

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  • Dibs! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 13, 2011 @09:23AM (#38040676)

    Dibs on the new land!

    • by Compaqt (1758360)

      SeaLand II, here we come!

      Seriously, though, I will anoint you King if I can get a duchy out of the deal.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by taiwanjohn (103839)

      Finally, a place for Peter Thiel's libertarian paradise!

    • Re:Dibs! (Score:5, Funny)

      by jimicus (737525) on Sunday November 13, 2011 @10:06AM (#38040780)

      You're far too late - a bunch of British expats have already bought the land and started the process of getting planning permission to build themselves villas and a shopping centre.

      • by sa1lnr (669048)

        Expats?

        Isn't that Brit speak for job stealing foreign immigrants. :)

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Expats?

          Isn't that Brit speak for job stealing foreign immigrants. :)

          Of course not. Those are hard working British emigrants. No similarity whatsoever.

        • by mjwx (966435)

          Expats?

          Isn't that Brit speak for job stealing foreign immigrants. :)

          Yes, those British cannot speak proper Hindi, I find them impossible to understand.

    • by philpalm (952191)
      Doesn't the land belong to the first person who steps on it? Maybe a group of folks are planing to plant a flag there?
      • by erick99 (743982) *
        Is there international law to deal with new land? I would be curious to know if that is the case. If land popped up in the middle of the ocean, well outside whatever countries consider to be within their own waters, how could one go about claiming the land? By the way, I don't want any land - I have a hard enough time keeping a townhouse with a tiny front yard and tiny backyard maintained.
    • Re:Dibs! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Sunday November 13, 2011 @11:43AM (#38041212)

      Funny enough, that already happened. In 1811 a similar underwater eruption near the Azores archipelago [wikipedia.org] caught the eye of a captain of a HMS Sabrina, a British warship. After noticing that the underwater volcanic eruption formed a small island, HMS Sabrina's captain decided to claim it for Britain through the cunning use of flags [youtube.com], in essence stealing portuguese land from under them and thumbing the nose at the Portuguese crown, which also happened to be an allied state. They named the new island Sabrina island [wikipedia.org] and proceeded to have a diplomatic row over this small episode. In the end the joke was on Britain, as the newly formed island crumbled into the sea.

      • Re:Dibs! (Score:5, Funny)

        by laejoh (648921) on Sunday November 13, 2011 @01:15PM (#38041694)
        Cunning use of flags? The captain's name was Baldrick?
      • Re:Dibs! (Score:5, Informative)

        by icebike (68054) on Sunday November 13, 2011 @08:04PM (#38044034)

        Funny enough, that already happened. In 1811 a similar underwater eruption near the Azores.

        While this island lies clearly within the territorial limits of the Canary Islands (Spain) the question of Lo'ihi [usgs.gov] is not so certain.

        Lo'ihi is still some distance (~969 meters) below the surface, but growing steadily, and when it breaks the surface it will be 30km from the Big Island in Hawaii, which is well outside the US claimed 22km territorial limit [wikipedia.org]. The chances of the US allowing anyone else to claim it are slim to none, but the precedent set in 1811 would pretty much assure the US will have boots on the ground before anyone else gets a chance.

        While Hawaiian volcanoes are typically slow growing, Lo'ihi is thought to be fed by the same lava plume feeding the Mauna Loa and Kilauea volcanoes. Should the plume find easier going to the east, Lo'ihi could draw upon pretty vast resources and grow much faster.

        • by Cheeko (165493)

          Even if it DOES grow much faster, you're still talking faster in Geological terms.

          It will be thousands and more likely tens of thousands of years before Lo'ihi breaks the surface.

          Also (was on the big island not 2 weeks ago) while visiting I the USGS site in Volcanoes National park, the prevailing belief is that long term Lo'ihi will merge with the big island as another peak the way Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea already have.

    • Given that the first link is a German website, I guess the whole nation are just waiting to get their towels down once it breaks the surface.
    • Give that Island a flag, Islands love flags.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I thought that was the one thing they weren't making anymore of.

    • by murr (214674)

      Yeah, I wonder what real estate agents on the Canary Islands are going to say now.

      • Re:Buy Land (Score:5, Funny)

        by Nidi62 (1525137) on Sunday November 13, 2011 @11:42AM (#38041196)

        Yeah, I wonder what real estate agents on the Canary Islands are going to say now.

        Get it while it's hot?

        • Re:Buy Land (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday November 13, 2011 @12:20PM (#38041400) Homepage

          Yeah, I wonder what real estate agents on the Canary Islands are going to say now.

          Get it while it's hot?

          Hopefully cooler heads will prevail.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Yeah, I wonder what real estate agents on the Canary Islands are going to say now.

            Get it while it's hot?

            Hopefully cooler heads will prevail.

            Unless they warm up to the possibilities!

            • by Anonymous Coward

              All real estate purchases should be made with a cool and collected mind. Any other approach may leave you blowing off steam.

              • by Anonymous Coward

                The financial problem with impulsive land purchases, is that the real estate lawyers always take atoll.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It could be useful.

  • I read the articles, and it's possible I missed something, but how far away from the existing land masses is the eruption and in which direction? All I saw was a vague mention of "South" at some point.

    Anyone?

  • Cause? (Score:4, Funny)

    by jamesl (106902) on Sunday November 13, 2011 @10:05AM (#38040776)

    I blame global warming.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is clearly a case of man-made global warming!
      Al Gore will make sure this land goes back where it came from - to Earth!

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You'll be able to blame global warming when the sea will have had swallow it again.

  • by djmurdoch (306849) on Sunday November 13, 2011 @10:10AM (#38040794)

    The eruption is near the island of El Hierro, about 90 km south of the volcano Cumbre Vieja on La Palma. A few years ago Cumbre Vieja was in the news as a possible source of a mega-tsunami that would devastate the west coasts of Africa and Europe and the east coast of North America. Wikipedia has the story: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cumbre_Vieja [wikipedia.org]. The problem is that the volcano is unstable, and it could collapse and dump 500 km^3 of rock into the ocean.

      Hopefully 90 km is far enough away not to bother it...

    • by RockDoctor (15477)

      A few years ago Cumbre Vieja was in the news as a possible source of a mega-tsunami that would devastate the west coasts of Africa and Europe and the east coast of North America.

      And from some of that satellite imagery in the photo gallery accompanying TFA, you can clearly see why : the concave collapse scar that makes up the NNE coast of the island ; the corresponding scar making up the SW side. The ESE side doesn't have a clear concave shape, but in the digital elevation models that give the topography in

  • Suck it, melting continental shelf! We'll volcano our way out of rising sea levels!
  • Data Update 13/11 – 12:20 UTC : - Joke reports ups and downs. NO jacuzzi, but a brownish stain coming up now and then. NO magmatic material (at least not visible) in the stain area. - The stain coloring cannot be seen on the webcam. Joke stands 150 meter above the sea level and has a better view over the sea.

    Data Update 13/11 – 12:15 UTC : Webcam live again (eruption camera not stable – wind instability or technicians working on it)

    Data Update 13/11 – 10:38 UTC : - Joke has arrived

    • by alphatel (1450715) * on Sunday November 13, 2011 @11:04AM (#38040972)

      Data Update 13/11 – 12:20 UTC : - Joke reports ups and downs. NO jacuzzi, but a brownish stain coming up now and then. NO magmatic material (at least not visible) in the stain area. - The stain coloring cannot be seen on the webcam. Joke stands 150 meter above the sea level and has a better view over the sea.

      Data Update 13/11 – 12:15 UTC : Webcam live again (eruption camera not stable – wind instability or technicians working on it)

      Data Update 13/11 – 10:38 UTC : - Joke has arrived at the Naos viewpoint and reports that a new stain is forming approx. or on the location of the former jacuzzi. The new stain is brownish at the inside , green at the ourskirts and a layer of foam at the edge. - she also says that people currently in La Restinga are reporting a strong gas smell

      Data Update 13/11 – 10:27 UTC : - 10 (volcanic) earthquakes since midnight. The strongest one being a 2.7 magnitude earthquake. - The depth varying from 18 to 23 km (only -10 km depth would be a very important new event) - GPS deformation (the change of the surface because of the pressure of the magma) is relatively unchanged, which is one of the indications (in combination with harmonic tremor) that the eruption i probably still going on.

      Source [earthquake-report.com]

      I'm sorry but the whole thing reads like reporting from a flatulent fat man's bathtub.

    • Re:More information (Score:4, Informative)

      by chill (34294) on Sunday November 13, 2011 @11:17AM (#38041054) Journal

      Incidentally, what are the chances they'll just end up with an atoll? Would this land rush be damp squib?

      Zero. An atoll is made up of coral, not volcanic rock.

      • Re:More information (Score:4, Informative)

        by Jimme Blue (1683902) on Sunday November 13, 2011 @02:54PM (#38042366)

        Incidentally, what are the chances they'll just end up with an atoll? Would this land rush be damp squib?

        Zero. An atoll is made up of coral, not volcanic rock.

        I believe that answer is actually much greater than zero (possibly 1.00), depending upon the the allowed timescale. Coral atolls are formed on top of old volcanices.

        From the last the last of the following links:

        "In 1842 Darwin explained the creation of coral atolls in the southern Pacific Ocean based upon observations made during a five-year voyage aboard the HMS Beagle from 1831 to 1836. Accepted as basically correct, his explanation involved considering that several tropical island types—from high volcanic island, through barrier reef island, to atoll—represented a sequence of gradual subsidence of what started as an oceanic volcano. He reasoned that a fringing coral reef surrounding a volcanic island in the tropical sea will grow upwards as the island subsides (sinks), becoming an "almost atoll", or barrier reef island, as typified by an island such as Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, Bora Bora and others in the Society Islands. The fringing reef becomes a barrier reef for the reason that the outer part of the reef maintains itself near sea level through biotic growth, while the inner part of the reef falls behind, becoming a lagoon because conditions are less favorable for the coral and calcareous algae responsible for most reef growth. In time, subsidence carries the old volcano below the ocean surface and the barrier reef remains. At this point, the island has become an atoll."

        http://www.eoearth.org/article/Atoll [eoearth.org]
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_Hawaiian_volcanoes [wikipedia.org]
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atoll [wikipedia.org]

      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        Incidentally, what are the chances they'll just end up with an atoll? Would this land rush be damp squib?

        Zero. An atoll is made up of coral, not volcanic rock.

        Jimmie Blue thinks the probability is (approaching) 1.0.

        As a geologist, I'd say that the answer is not so simple. It's like breathing.

        A coral reef is formed where the rate of accumulation of material from the growth of corals outpaces the (effective) loss of material due to subsidence of the edifice into the seabed (and the seabed rising very slig

  • In cases of news such as this piece, I have personally come to expect some video. Is it too much to expect in this 21st century? Heck, the eruption:
    1. Is still taking place
    2. Has the potential of historical importance
    3. Isn't happening in a place so remote
    4. Is near the so called rich lands on planet earth

    Come on shoot some video and let's witness history.

  • by BlueCoder (223005) on Sunday November 13, 2011 @11:14AM (#38041042)

    Makes me wonder if it might be possible to exploit weak spots in the earth crust to create islands artificially. Second I wonder how safe it would be.

    But suppose instead of destabilizing the crust you instead you just drilled down to the magma and pumped it out? If you could build a piping system that
    could pump magma under cold ocean without clogging up the pipe that is... Forget about super conductors... what about super insulators at high temperatures?

    Maybe in a couple hundred years... Should be possible to create the equivalent land mass of Hawaii in a few different places in the worlds or to at least double or triple their the land masses of existing islands within a ten year controlled period.

    And for places like Yellowstone maybe even create a few mountains nearby to relieve the pressure.

  • A few years ago a yacht crew took photos of a volcanic island rising out of the sea. http://yacht-maiken.blogspot.com/2006/08/stone-sea-and-volcano.html [blogspot.com]

    I was about to go on a sailing trip when I saw the photos and although there was no chance of seeing something similar in the Mediterranean it did get me excited about the amazing things you can see on our planet.

    • by RockDoctor (15477)

      although there was no chance of seeing something similar in the Mediterranean

      As a geologist thinking about "interesting things to do" for next year's holiday, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the possibility. You'll have to (sorry!) keep your ear to the ground to find out where the interesting stuff is, but there are (more or less) continuously active volcanoes in the sea north of Sicily (loosely associated with Mt Etna ; but the geology there is complex!) where the possibility of new islands being created

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Coal mine in a Canary...

  • This just ticked in like half an hour ago. There's webcam links in it, but I can't spot anything yet. http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/view_news/2441/El-Hierro-volcano-Canary-Islands-Spain-continuing-earthquakes-and-tremor-feed-speculations-about-a-s.html [volcanodiscovery.com]
  • Better article (Score:4, Informative)

    by Smallpond (221300) on Sunday November 13, 2011 @02:29PM (#38042180) Homepage Journal

    The Wired article from last month has better pictures and more information

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/10/el-hierro-eruption-continues-but-not-likely-to-form-new-island/ [wired.com]

  • Santorini, the volcanic island in the Aegean Sea allegedly responsible for the collapse of the Minoan civilisation in it's 1760BCE eruption, is grumbling on it's northern eruptive axis [volcanodiscovery.com] which runs through the submarine "Kolumbus" volcano.

    That was one of the things that got me back into SCUBA - Kolumbus is (when last reported) only 60m below sea level, which is within the credible reach of recreational diving. (OK, you'd need to be on mixed gases, and probably on a CCR, but it's do-able!) I like the idea of

  • I made a simple Google Earth Keyhole Markup file with all quakes this year with a magnitude of 2.0 or greater on the Richter Scale

    http://www2.tripnet.se/~fredrik/hierro.kmz [tripnet.se]

    The information were gathered from Instituto Geográfico Nacional's web page: http://www.01.ign.es/ign/layoutIn/volcaFormularioCatalogo.do [01.ign.es]
  • How can rocks fall from new land rising from the sea?
    • by RockDoctor (15477)
      (1) they can fall down the submarine slopes. Just because the fluid they're falling through is inimical to your particular respiratory equipment, doesn't change the fundamentals of the situation.

      (2) As with the generic model of a volcano (typically envisioned as a strato-volcano, though this is actually a parasite cone on the flanks of a hybrid of shield- and strato-volcano), rock as magma and fragments of pumice is being injected at a central point on the volcano, then falls away down the flanks with litt

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