The island of São Jorge in the Atlantic Ocean may soon experience a volcanic eruption. The regional seismological institute CIVISA warns against this. The volcanic island of Azores has experienced 20,000 small earthquakes in the past eleven days.
If the volcano – which bears the island’s name – erupts, it would be the first time since 1808. According to CIVISA, it’s also possible that not a volcanic eruption but a major earthquake is on the way. So far, the strength of the tremors has not exceeded 3.3 degrees on the Richter scale.
According to experts, the eruption of the São Jorge volcano may resemble the volcanic eruption last year on the Spanish island of La Palma. There, Cumbre Vega released lava, debris, and poisonous gases for 85 days. Involcan, the Institute of Seismology in the Canary Islands (located about 1,400 km from the Azores), states that up to 20 million cubic meters of lava can flow over São Jorge.
Involcan already observed soil deformation on the island as a result of volcanic activity. “It may lead to nothing, but it may also end in a volcanic eruption,” said the director of the seismological center.
Farmers want to survive
Local authorities told Reuters news agency that 1,500 of the 8,400 residents had already left the island. Farmers in particular want to stay on the island because they don’t want to leave their cows behind. São Jorge’s economy is largely based on the production of milk and cheese.
The elderly were evacuated from the village of Vilas where most of the seismic activity was recorded. The school in the village is closed at the moment and will serve as an aid and health center. Medical personnel and first responders have already been sent to the island. “This situation is very challenging,” said the director of the local health service. “It’s different and worrisome.”
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