Volcanologists seek for solutions as Azorean island retains shaking

Vittoreo Zanon and Fatima Viveiros monitor soil gases in Rosais close to Velas as small earthquakes have been recorded in Sao Jorge island, Azores, Portugal, March 27, 2022. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

SAO JORGE, Portugal – Fatima Viveiros was somewhat lady when she determined to develop into a volcanologist. It was a dream come true. Now aged 44, she is placing her expertise to make use of to guard her dwelling.

The luxurious mid-Atlantic volcanic island of Sao Jorge, the place she grew up, has been rattled by greater than 14,000 small earthquakes for seven days.

Viveiros and different specialists concern the tremors, which have had magnitudes of as much as 3.3, may set off a volcanic eruption for the primary time since 1808, or a robust earthquake.

“My house is positioned on an energetic volcanic system,” stated Viveiros, who works for the area’s CIVISA seismo-volcanic surveillance centre.

“When (one thing occurs) in our dwelling we have to be somewhat cold-blooded so our emotions do not have an effect on our considering,” she added. “However the emotions are there as a result of it is my dwelling, my folks.”

Viveiros was carrying a yellow machine on her again to measure soil gases on Sao Jorge, an island within the Azores archipelago, an autonomous area of Portugal.

Soil gases, reminiscent of CO2 and sulphur, are indicators of volcanic exercise, and Viveiros and her group have been battling Sao Jorge’s rain and powerful winds for days to dig for solutions. To this point, the degrees stay regular.

Sao Jorge’s sudden enhance in seismic exercise is harking back to the earthquakes detected earlier than the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on Spain’s La Palma island final 12 months, some 1,400 km (870 miles) southeast of the Azores.

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Over 85 days, that eruption destroyed 1000’s of properties and crops.

Viveiros travelled to La Palma on the time to help the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute and monitor soil gases there, and stated Sao Jorge’s volcanic system was just like the one on the Spanish island.

“One of many potential eventualities on the desk is that we see one thing just like what occurred in La Palma,” she stated after monitoring soil gases on land used for grazing cows.

Spanish and different worldwide groups of specialists are ready to journey to Sao Jorge if wanted, she added.

CIVISA raised the volcanic alert to Degree 4 on Wednesday, which means there’s a “actual risk” the volcano may erupt.

Azores’ President Jose Bolieiro stated the earthquakes that hit Sao Jorge in latest days are double these recorded within the area as complete final 12 months.

“There may be clearly an abnormality,” he instructed reporters.

Though authorities have stated the eruption was not imminent, round 1,500 folks have left the island by air or sea in latest days. Many don’t know when they may have the ability to return.