Tajogaite timeline of events from September 2021 to January 2022

Introduction

On the 19th of September, the volcano that would later be known as Tajogaite erupted and changed the lives of many people living on the island of La Palma forever. The eruption went on to last 85 days and 8 hours and was announced to be over by Julio Perez on Christmas day (25th of December 2021). The eruption produced an estimated 200 Mm3 of volcanic materials, and 9,090 earthquakes have been located, with 5.1 mbLg being the maximum magnitude recorded, and IV-V the highest intensity earthquake reached on the EMS scale. This timeline was constructed using geological reports and official statements produced throughout the La Palma eruption from September 12th 2021 until January 31st 2022. All original reports were written in Spanish and were therefore translated into English for this timeline. The reports were also edited for mistranslations, readability, and succinctness. Some geological and volcanological jargon is used throughout this timeline, please refer to GeoTenerife’s glossary, https://geotenerife.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/glossary-geotenerife.pdf, for definitions. The data collected from these reports range from the deformation of the volcanic cone to official advice given to the public. We decided to establish this timeline so that an individual would be able to study geological events and governmental response and understand the challenges faced when responding to an ever-changing eruption. To use this timeline, scroll right on the timeline to move from September reports through to the January reports, next select a date you would like to read more about. A pop-up of that date’s data will show on the page. Alternatively, if you would like to sort by type of geological activity or official statement, refer to the code system table below and select which subgroup you would like to read more about. After selecting a subgroup, e.g. TRFLGHT, a pop-up within the page will list all dates with that activity and will contain a link to the original source if you wish to further your research.

Code System

Group Subgroups Description
Official statement GENEVAL This label is applied to days when a general assessment of the situation is reported.
VOLEVAL This label is applied to days when an assessment exclusively of the volcanic activity is reported.
FORCST This label is applied to days when a forecast was repoted to the public.
EVACOUT This label is applied to days when evacuations of residents took place/was announced.
CNFNEON This label is applied to days when confinement of residents took place/was announced.
CNFNEOFF This label is applied to days when confinement of residents was announced / lifted
EVACIN This label is applied to days when the return of residents to previously evacuated area took place/ was announced.
TRFLGHT This label is applied to days when the traffic light system was change.
DECS This label is applied to days when policy decisions were announced.
DECSPAST This label is applied to days when a reminder of past decisions were reported in an official statement.
ADV This label is applied to days when official sources made recommendations to the public.
PUB This label is applied to days when public communications, e.g. town meeting, took place.
EXCLSN This label is applied to days when the exclusion zone changed in size/shape.
SEIS This label is applied to days where IGN reported seismic activity
PLUME This label is applied to days where IGN reported ash plume activity
VOLTREM This label is applied to days where IGN reported volcanic tremor activity
VOLTREMPULS This label is applied to days where IGN reported intensification in the volcanic tremor signals
UPLFT This label is applied to days where IGN reported uplift
SUB This label is applied to days where IGN reported subsidence
DIRDEF This label is applied to days where IGN reported deformation with direction
Geological activity DEF This label is applied to days where IGN reported deformation without direction
ERPTINC This label is applied to days where IGN reported the eruption of pyroclastic materials started
ERPTEND This label is applied to days where IGN reported the eruption of pyroclastic materials ended
LAVA This label applies to days where IGN reported lava flow activity
ASH This label applies to days where IGN reported an increase in ash deposition
RVSDEF This label applies to days where the deformation previously reported by IGN reverses
CNEHGHT This label applies to days when IGN reported the height of the cone
EQPOP This label applies to days when earthquakes of any intensity were felt by the population
DGSS This label applies to days when intense degassing was reported by IGN

Timeline

All

2021
12 Sep, 2021 - 5:45 PM

New seismic series located

New seismic series located

Pre-eruptive seismic activity prompts the yellow traffic light and evacuations

Group: Geological report
Subgroup: SEIS
Source: Noticias e informe mensual de vigilancia volcánica

Since its beginning at 3:18 am (UTC) yesterday, the 11th, until today at 16:00(UTC), 315 earthquakes have been detected, of which 90 have been located. The magnitude has been increasing, especially as of 15:00 (UTC), the maximum magnitude being 2.8 mbLg. The depth of the earthquakes continues between 8 and 13 km.

This image portrays the latitude, longitude, and depth of the seismic activity that occurred on the 12th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma. Sourced from IGN (2021)
This image portrays the latitude, longitude, and depth of the seismic activity that occurred on the 12th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma. Sourced from IGN (2021)
13 Sep, 2021 - 8:00 AM

Seismic activity in the south of the island continues

Seismic activity in the south of the island continues

Pre-eruptive seismic activity prompts the yellow traffic light and evacuations

Group: Geological report
Subgroup: SEIS – EQPOP
Source: Noticias e informe mensual de vigilancia volcánica

Since the last statement on the 12th of September until 8:00 (UTC) on the 13th, a further 1,255 earthquakes have been detected in the southern area of the island of La Palma, of which have been located a total of 354. The magnitude of the earthquakes has been
increasing in recent hours with a maximum earthquake of magnitude 3.4 mbLg that has been felt by the population. The depth of the earthquakes remains between 8 and 13 km.

This image portrays the latitude, longitude, and depth of the seismic activity that occurred on the 13th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma.
This image portrays the latitude, longitude, and depth of the seismic activity that occurred on the 13th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma.
13 Sep, 2021 - 9:00 AM

The Government activates PEVOLCA and changes the traffic light to yellow

The Government activates PEVOLCA and changes the traffic light to yellow

Pre-eruptive seismic activity prompts the yellow traffic light and evacuations

Given the increase in seismic activity, the Government of the Canary Islands today convened the Scientific Committee of the Special Plan for Civil Protection and Attention to Emergencies due to Volcanic Risk (PEVOLCA) to assess the situation, agreeing to activate this Plan in a situation of Alert for Fuencaliente, Los Llanos de Aridane, El Paso and Mazo and the change of the traffic light from green to yellow for said municipalities.

This diagram displays the seismic swarm since 11th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma. Sourced from Gobierno de Canarias (2021).
This diagram displays the seismic swarm since 11th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma. Sourced from Gobierno de Canarias (2021).
14 Sep, 2021 - 9:30 AM

Seismic activity moves westward

Seismic activity moves westward

Pre-eruptive seismic activity prompts the yellow traffic light and evacuations

Group: Geological report
Subgroup: SEIS – DIRDEF – DEF
Source: Noticias e informe mensual de vigilancia volcánica

The seismic activity appears to be moving westward and its depth has decreased. The surface deformation has reached 1.5 cm and shows a distribution compatible with the location of the seismicity. From the 13th of Sep, until 8:00 (UTC) today, 1365 earthquakes have been detected in the southern area of the island of La Palma, of which 61 have been located. The largest earthquake occurred today at 06:00 (UTC) with a provisional magnitude of 3.9 mbLg. The depth of earthquakes at this time is between 8 and 10 km. In the last hours, the seismicity apparently has a slight migration towards the west of the island. Surface deformation is also observed, both in the island’s network of GNSS stations and in the inclinometer. On the other hand, the GNSS network has registered an accumulated deformation since the beginning of the seismic series of 1.5 centimetres.

This diagram displays the seismic events as of the 11th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma. Sourced from Gobierno de Canarias (2021).
This diagram displays the seismic events as of the 11th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma. Sourced from Gobierno de Canarias (2021).
Preloader
  • New seismic series located

    New seismic series located

    Pre-eruptive seismic activity prompts the yellow traffic light and evacuations

    Group: Geological report
    Subgroup: SEIS
    Source: Noticias e informe mensual de vigilancia volcánica

    Since its beginning at 3:18 am (UTC) yesterday, the 11th, until today at 16:00(UTC), 315 earthquakes have been detected, of which 90 have been located. The magnitude has been increasing, especially as of 15:00 (UTC), the maximum magnitude being 2.8 mbLg. The depth of the earthquakes continues between 8 and 13 km.

    This image portrays the latitude, longitude, and depth of the seismic activity that occurred on the 12th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma. Sourced from IGN (2021)
    This image portrays the latitude, longitude, and depth of the seismic activity that occurred on the 12th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma. Sourced from IGN (2021)
  • Seismic activity in the south of the island continues

    Seismic activity in the south of the island continues

    Pre-eruptive seismic activity prompts the yellow traffic light and evacuations

    Group: Geological report
    Subgroup: SEIS – EQPOP
    Source: Noticias e informe mensual de vigilancia volcánica

    Since the last statement on the 12th of September until 8:00 (UTC) on the 13th, a further 1,255 earthquakes have been detected in the southern area of the island of La Palma, of which have been located a total of 354. The magnitude of the earthquakes has been
    increasing in recent hours with a maximum earthquake of magnitude 3.4 mbLg that has been felt by the population. The depth of the earthquakes remains between 8 and 13 km.

    This image portrays the latitude, longitude, and depth of the seismic activity that occurred on the 13th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma.
    This image portrays the latitude, longitude, and depth of the seismic activity that occurred on the 13th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma.
  • The Government activates PEVOLCA and changes the traffic light to yellow

    The Government activates PEVOLCA and changes the traffic light to yellow

    Pre-eruptive seismic activity prompts the yellow traffic light and evacuations

    Given the increase in seismic activity, the Government of the Canary Islands today convened the Scientific Committee of the Special Plan for Civil Protection and Attention to Emergencies due to Volcanic Risk (PEVOLCA) to assess the situation, agreeing to activate this Plan in a situation of Alert for Fuencaliente, Los Llanos de Aridane, El Paso and Mazo and the change of the traffic light from green to yellow for said municipalities.

    This diagram displays the seismic swarm since 11th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma. Sourced from Gobierno de Canarias (2021).
    This diagram displays the seismic swarm since 11th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma. Sourced from Gobierno de Canarias (2021).
  • Seismic activity moves westward

    Seismic activity moves westward

    Pre-eruptive seismic activity prompts the yellow traffic light and evacuations

    Group: Geological report
    Subgroup: SEIS – DIRDEF – DEF
    Source: Noticias e informe mensual de vigilancia volcánica

    The seismic activity appears to be moving westward and its depth has decreased. The surface deformation has reached 1.5 cm and shows a distribution compatible with the location of the seismicity. From the 13th of Sep, until 8:00 (UTC) today, 1365 earthquakes have been detected in the southern area of the island of La Palma, of which 61 have been located. The largest earthquake occurred today at 06:00 (UTC) with a provisional magnitude of 3.9 mbLg. The depth of earthquakes at this time is between 8 and 10 km. In the last hours, the seismicity apparently has a slight migration towards the west of the island. Surface deformation is also observed, both in the island’s network of GNSS stations and in the inclinometer. On the other hand, the GNSS network has registered an accumulated deformation since the beginning of the seismic series of 1.5 centimetres.

    This diagram displays the seismic events as of the 11th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma. Sourced from Gobierno de Canarias (2021).
    This diagram displays the seismic events as of the 11th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma. Sourced from Gobierno de Canarias (2021).
  • PEVOLCA maintains the yellow traffic light and the volcanic risk alert for the Cumbre Vieja area, in La Palma

    PEVOLCA maintains the yellow traffic light and the volcanic risk alert for the Cumbre Vieja area, in La Palma

    Pre-eruptive seismic activity prompts the yellow traffic light and evacuations

    PEVOLCA recommended to the Directorate of the Plan to keep the traffic light in yellow and the Alert situation for the municipalities of the Cumbre Vieja, specifically Fuencaliente, Los Llanos de Aridane, El Paso and Mazo. There is still no clear evidence of an imminent eruption

    This diagram displays the seismic events as of the 11th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma. Sourced from Gobierno de Canarias (2021).
    This diagram displays the seismic events as of the 11th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma. Sourced from Gobierno de Canarias (2021).
  • Seismic activity continues to migrates northwest at shallow depths and deformation is recorded

    Seismic activity continues to migrates northwest at shallow depths and deformation is recorded

    Pre-eruptive seismic activity prompts the yellow traffic light and evacuations

    Group: Geological report
    Subgroup: SEIS – DEF
    Source: Noticias e informe mensual de vigilancia volcánica

    Seismic activity continues to migrate slightly to the northwest, at depths of around 8 km, with 20 shallow earthquakes (1-3 km) also being recorded. The maximum accumulated deformation reaches about 6 cm. Since the previous statement, a further 1,287 earthquakes have been detected in the southern area of the island of La Palma. Activity continues to migrate in a northwesterly direction. Since 00:11 (UTC), 20 earthquakes have been located at depths between 1-3 km. The maximum accumulated vertical deformation is around 6 cm in the area close to seismicity.

    This image portrays the latitude, longitude, and depth of the seismic activity that occurred on the 15th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma. Sourced from IGN (2021)
    This image portrays the latitude, longitude, and depth of the seismic activity that occurred on the 15th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma. Sourced from IGN (2021)
  • Seismic activity migrates northwest at shallow depths and deformation is recorded

    Seismic activity migrates northwest at shallow depths and deformation is recorded

    Pre-eruptive seismic activity prompts the yellow traffic light and evacuations

    Group: Geological report
    Subgroup: SEIS – DEF
    Source: Noticias e informe mensual de vigilancia volcánica

    The seismic activity continues migrating slightly to the northwest, at depths of about 8 km, and also recorded 50 shallow earthquakes between 1-5 km. The maximum accumulated deformation reaches about 10 cm. Since the previous statement until today, a further 308 earthquakes have been detected in the the southern area of the island of La Palma.

    This image portrays the latitude, longitude, and depth of the seismic activity that occurred on the 16th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma. Sourced from IGN (2021)
    This image portrays the latitude, longitude, and depth of the seismic activity that occurred on the 16th of September 2021 on the island of La Palma. Sourced from IGN (2021)
  • Shallow magnitude 3 earthquake felt with intensity III

    Shallow magnitude 3 earthquake felt with intensity III

    Pre-eruptive seismic activity prompts the yellow traffic light and evacuations

    This image portrays the displacement and deformation changes on the island of La Palma measured on the 18th of September. Sourced from IGN (2021)
    This image portrays the displacement and deformation changes on the island of La Palma measured on the 18th of September. Sourced from IGN (2021)
  • Yellow traffic light is maintained and PEVOLCA organises a meeting with residents and authorities

    Yellow traffic light is maintained and PEVOLCA organises a meeting with residents and authorities

    Pre-eruptive seismic activity prompts the yellow traffic light and evacuations

    Progress in the preparation of the evacuation plans for the population in the area affected by the seismic swarm on La Palma, with special attention to the most vulnerable areas defined by the Scientific Committee. The traffic light remains yellow and the Plan activated in an Alert situation

    This photo shows a meeting with the director of 112 Canarias and specialists on September 19th to finalise and announce evacuation plans. Sourced from Gobierno de Canarias (2021).
    This photo shows a meeting with the director of 112 Canarias and specialists on September 19th to finalise and announce evacuation plans. Sourced from Gobierno de Canarias (2021).
  • Another magnitude 3 earthquake at shallow depths recorded alongside deformation changes

    Another magnitude 3 earthquake at shallow depths recorded alongside deformation changes

    Pre-eruptive seismic activity prompts the yellow traffic light and evacuations

    Group: Geological report
    Subgroup: SEIS – EQPOP
    Source: Noticias e informe mensual de vigilancia

    Intense surface seismicity, between 0 and 6 km, and numerous earthquakes felt by the population were recorded today. Today, 327 earthquakes have been detected, of which 86 have been located with a maximum magnitude of 3.8 mbLg for the earthquake that occurred at 10:16 (UTC), widely felt on the island and with a depth of 2 km.

    This photo shows a meeting with the director of 112 Canarias and specialists on September 18th to progress the plans for preparation. Sourced from Gobierno de Canarias (2021).
    This photo shows a meeting with the director of 112 Canarias and specialists on September 18th to progress the plans for preparation. Sourced from Gobierno de Canarias (2021).

Timeline data accumulated by Ajay Jones and Ryan Bailey