High seismic activity on Azores island 

Seismic activity on the island of São Jorge, in the Azores, “remains above the reference values”, and “more than 1,100 low-magnitude earthquakes” have been recorded since Saturday afternoon but only “63 felt by the population”.

The information was provided by the president of the Information and Seismovulcanic Surveillance Centre of the Azores (CIVISA), Rui Marques, indicating that, “so far, more than 1,100 earthquakes of low magnitude, with a magnitude less than 3.3 on the Ritcher scale” have been recorded. “We have a record of 63 earthquakes felt by the population so far, and, during the last night, five events were felt,” added the official.  

According to Rui Marques, “the seismic activity that CIVISA has been recording in the fissural volcanic system of Manadas since 16:05 on 19 March (Saturday) remains above the reference values,” noting that, at this time, “it is not yet possible to know the pattern of behaviour of this seismic crisis.

President of the Information and Seismovulcanic Surveillance Centre of the Azores, Rui Marques

“At this moment, we have little more than 24 hours of seismic crisis. We are monitoring the situation, but it is still too early to understand the pattern that this crisis is following”, the CIVISA president explained.

Rui Marques recalled that, on Sunday, four CIVISA technicians left São Miguel for the island of São Jorge to “increase the capacity of on-site monitoring” of the seismic crisis, which is occurring in an area between the town of Velas, in the south of the island, and Fajã do Ouvidor, on the north coast.

“The only thing we can say for sure at this moment is that the values are above what is normal for this volcanic system. CIVISA will continue to follow all the monitored parameters very closely, maintaining a close relationship with the Regional Service of Civil Protection and Firefighters of the Azores, which is also in close cooperation with the municipal services of civil protection of Velas and Calheta, the two municipalities of São Jorge island,” he told Lusa.

Rui Marques underlined that “At this moment, our concern with this system is the same concern we should have with any active volcanic system. We have an active volcanic system that right now has a seismic crisis. We will continue to monitor it,” he stressed.