A magnitude 3.2 earthquake was recorded just 100 meters below the surface on Saturday, while several other earthquakes were detected on Sunday morning, the largest with a magnitude of 3.8.
Experts said an eruption on the island, in the far west of the Atlantic archipelago, was not yet imminent, but there was an intensification of earthquakes near the surface.
The scientific committee of the Volcanic Risk Prevention Plan said stronger earthquakes “are likely to be felt and can cause damage to buildings.” The scientific expert committee also reported the risk of rockfall on part of the southwest coast of the Atlantic island.
Data from the National Geographic Institute (IGN) showed repeated earthquakes greater than magnitude 2 at increasingly shallow depths near the small town of El Paso.
In total, more than 6,600 small earthquakes have been recorded in the Cumbre Vieja area since the start of the last swarm activity on September 11.
On Sunday morning alone, IGN said 327 earthquakes had been detected.
La Palma was on alert this week after geologists reported a buildup of molten rock beneath Cumbre Vieja, a dormant volcanic ridge near the island’s southern tip. It last erupted in 1971.
Scientists have discovered a deformation of 15 centimeters of rock at Cumbre Vieja where earthquakes occur, indicating the presence of magma in the subsoil which is exerting pressure on the surface.
Volcano warnings are announced based on risk level, ranging from green, yellow, orange, and red. Authorities decided on Monday to raise the threat level to yellow, requiring residents of at-risk areas to be prepared to evacuate.
Residents are also urged to report any sightings of gas, ash, water level changes or minor shaking to emergency services.
The municipalities of Fuencaliente, Los Llanos de Aridane, El Paso and Villa de Mazo – which are home to around 35,000 people – are affected.
La Palma, with a population of 85,000, is known as the The beautiful island, or the beautiful island, and is one of the eight islands of the Canary Islands archipelago.
It is a popular tourist destination, attracting many German and European travelers keen to hike its mountainous terrain.
Additional Reuters Reports