The spate of earthquakes registered west of Faial island since last month “could lead to the appearance of a whole new island”, says volcanologist Vítor Hugo Forjaz.
New islands created by seismic activity come and go in the archipelago, he explained. There was one, known as the Bank of D. João de Castro, off Terceira island, that “came out of the water for a certain period of time” due to movement of the tectonic plates beneath it.
This time activity that has been relentless around 20-30 kms off Faial could see a whole new volcanic mass appear.
It wouldn’t affect Faial, says Forjaz, which was hit today by two further quakes – one early this morning, measuring 4.7 on the Richter Scale, the other mid-afternoon measuring 4.4.
Both quakes were felt by islanders, not just on Faial, but on Pico and São Jorge (both in the southwest corner of the central islands).
For now, no authorities have raised any kind of situation of alarm. These islands are ‘volcanic’ and as such the people on them deal with shocks and tremors almost every day.
To help quantify an earthquake in the 4’s on the Richter Scale, this is still considered light. Says sea and atmosphere authority IPMA, anything below 2 is considered ‘micro’, between 2.0 and 2.9 ‘very small’, 3.30 to 3.9 ‘small’, 4.0 to 4.9 ‘light’, 5.0 to 5.9 ‘moderate’, 6.0 to 6.9 ‘strong’, 7.0 to 7.9 ‘large’, 8.0 to 8.9 ‘important’, 9.0 to 9.9 ‘exceptional’ and over 1o ‘extreme’.