Quakes shake island in Canaries

2nd November 2011, Comments 0 comments

A series of quakes including one measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale shook Hierro island in Spain's Canaries on Wednesday, three weeks after a nearby undersea volcanic eruption.

The 4.0-magnitude quake struck at 0755 GMT in the Atlantic about five kilometres (three miles) northwest of the town of Frontera, population 4,000, said a report by the National Geographical Institute.

It was measured at a depth of 20 kilometres (12 miles).

Experts advised that the possibility of a new volcanic eruption could not be confirmed or ruled out, said a spokeswoman for the Canary Islands regional government.

"It could happen but in principle it is not imminent," the spokeswoman said.

No evacuations were under way.

The Spanish authorities sent tents, toilets and a canteen to the island to lodge 2,000 people in case of an evacuation, the regional government said in a statement.

When combined with Red Cross supplies, a total 2,500 evacuees could be sheltered if needed, it said.

Some 500 residents and tourists were evacuated from the village of La Restinga after a 4.3-magnitude quake and undersea volcanic eruption October 10 but have since returned home.

Restinga remains on red alert for a possible eruption, the highest point on a three-level warning scale.

The previous volcanic eruption on the Canary Islands struck on nearby La Palma in 1971.

El Hierro, which means iron in Spanish, is the smallest of Spain's Canary Islands, located in the Atlantic off the coast of Morocco. It is home to some 11,000 people.

© 2011 AFP

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