Tremor reminds Tenerife of its roots

ITERIt was a pretty small tremor compared to the enormity of the devastating earthquake in China, but a tremor of 3.4 on the richter scale, just off the coast of Santa Cruz, the Tenerife capital reminded islanders that the Canary Islands are a very active volcanic region.

The tremor took place at 8.45 am on Tuesday May 13, 24 kms out from the coast and 33kms below the sea bed, but the movement was felt in the north of Tenerife, although no material damage was done. There is a monitoring station (left) at ITER, the renewable energy centre down south in Granadilla, but the tremor has strengthened the call for a dedicated centre of volcanology for the Canary Islands to research and monitor the constant activity that goes on under the islands. Experts say there are 3 tremors every month, but normally they are too deep or too far out at sea to make an impression.

To put the latest incident into context, the last noticable tremor in the Canaries was last October, just off La Gomera, registering 4.2, and the biggest in recent years was in May 1989 in Tenerife at 5.2. In start contrast the major quake in China this week was 7.8 on the richter scale. More research will help to predict movement patterns not just here in the Canary Islands, but also in other high risk areas around the world.

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