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The birth of an island?

October 17, 2011

Maybe in a conventional situation many of you are not into geology. In spite of this – and you can correct me if you think I am wrong – we can appreciate the wanders of nature.

Colonization of new territories by different kinds of living organisms has been evident for a long time. From microbes to higher sea-living organisms have been able to adapt to a terrestrial life and, from there, they have evolved to what they are today.

At some point in their lives,  most people have  studied something about geology and the different types of island formation as, for example, the volcanic one. Our planet is completely alive, and during millions of years, different volcanoes which have been hidden under the sea level have erupted, and therefore, they have arisen above the sea and created lots of different islands all around the world. For instance, the formation of the Hawaiian Island Chain began more than five million of years ago, and still today, there are hot spots of magma formation which maintain this location geologically alive. As a matter of  fact, a particular volcano can erupt and be silent during millions of years or just arise for the first time near one of these hot spot regions.

And this is exactly what is happening right now just a few kilometers from the coast of El Hierro, the youngest island of the Canarian Archipelago. Unexpectedly, and leaving apart the social impact of this phenomenon over the human population living there, we are probably going to witness one of the events in nature we would have never thought to be able to attend during our short life: the birth of an island.

The following image shows the shadow of the undersea eruption, just a little distance from El Hierro.

To tell the truth, I am not only excited about new land emerging from the sea, but also about the existing and nearby living organisms which will probably colonize it, letting us and our descendants – we are talking about processes taking place over millions of years – the chance of observing an amazing phenomenon in nature involving, not only colonization, but also evolution of living organisms.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. marisadedios permalink*
    October 17, 2011 5:38 pm

    Thank you Leonor for this interesting post. I had thought of the people living there, but this is a different perspective.

  2. jesarqit permalink
    October 17, 2011 7:34 pm

    It´s nice to read a new point of view about an event that, far from the obvious problems for the inhabitants from el Hierro, could create a new piece of earth where we can step on in the near future.

  3. sarandoa permalink
    October 17, 2011 7:34 pm

    I don’t know very well what is happening at this moment there, in El Hierro and the new volcano, but I think that, at least, the last earthquakes have stopped.
    For me, earthquakes are the worst meteorological phenomenon in the world. Eventhought I have only suffered one earhquake in my live, I am terrified of them.

  4. October 17, 2011 8:13 pm

    Of course we cannot forget the people living there, I was just giving the perspective of science 😉

  5. rugure permalink
    October 19, 2011 1:41 am

    I love everything about volcanoes and earthquakes. A few years ago I was living in Tenerife and was passionate about the history of all the canary islands. I want to visit El Hierro and La Palma in my next vacation.

  6. October 21, 2011 9:38 am

    I agree with you about the amazing phenomenon of the seismic activity. I could be aware of it in Lanzarote. In this moon-like landscape endemic fauna and flora are truly astonishing (for instance, Famara has the largest number of endemic flora per km2 across Europe and also this island has the only blind albino crabs in the world!). Fortunately, the volcanoes there are in a dormant phase since two centuries ago. I hope it keep it up for a long time because I’ve got relatives living there.

  7. leosanbu permalink
    October 21, 2011 11:46 pm

    Thanks for your answers guys!! I hope this phenomenon doesn’t end up causing any damage in people. In fact, I think the volcano is slowing down the eruption. But it would be great to be able to live the formation of a new island and its colonization process, if that process was immediate, which is not.
    BTW, I’d like to visit the canary islands!!

  8. Cynthia permalink
    October 26, 2011 11:54 pm

    Unfortunately there have been more earthquakes, particularly last Monday 23rd October, 43 low-intensity earthquakes hit the area (yes, only in one day!)
    Besides, the mark is moving to the South through the Atlantic Ocean which can cause serious problems in the flora and fauna of a more large area.
    But not all are bad news. Scientist, for the very first time, have been able to map the birth of a submarine volcano (it base diameter is 700 meters, it has a present height of 100 meter and a crater of 120 meter!) That fact will be relevant to know the hole volcanic activity in the Canary Islands.

    This is the link where you can follow the latest news of El Hierro–>

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