By Eloise Horsfield

SCIENTISTS have been working hard this week to investigate the undersea volcano which caused the evacuation of an entire village in El Hierro earlier this month.

The team, working aboard the Ramon Margalef oceanographic research vessel just off the coast of the Canaries’ smallest island, have discovered the volcanic form sitting 300m below the surface is 100m tall and 700m wide, with a crater of 120m.

The scientists began their mission Sunday after the research vessel arrived following a four-day sail from Vigo, and have since located gas and fluid columns and open emission points around the volcano.

Today the team will send down a robotic submarine, the ROV Liropus 2000, to measure water salinity and temperature.

Twenty residents of the nearest village are still sleeping in a school, too scared to return to their homes after the undersea eruption, which occurred five kilometres off the southern El Hierro coast earlier this month.

The eruption was Spain’s first since 1971, when the Teneguia volcano erupted on La Palma, also in the Canary Islands.

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