Concerns about a volcanic eruption are growing on the Azores island of Sao Jorge, which belongs to Portugal, after thousands of smaller earthquakes in recent days.
Almost 13,000 tremors were recorded in just seven days, the Azores seismic-volcanic monitoring center (Civisa) announced on Saturday.
That is twice as many as in all of last year.
The tremors have so far not caused any significant damage.
However, these swarm earthquakes can be an indication of an impending volcanic eruption.
Because of this strong seismic activity, authorities raised the volcano alert to the second-highest level of 4.
President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa wanted to visit Sao Jorge on Sunday "to send a clear signal of solidarity and solidarity," said Regional President José Manuel Bolieiro on Saturday.
The head of state said in Lisbon that he was following the situation closely.
However, Rebelo also emphasized that, according to expert assessments, there is currently “no reason to worry”.
The Federal Foreign Office advises against traveling to Sao Jorge
Several experts said that there was still too little information to be able to make any concrete statements.
The geologist Ricardo Ramalho said, for example, the newspaper "Público", a larger volcanic eruption such as that on the Canary Island of La Palma, which belongs to Spain, which lasted between September 19th and December 13th last year, cannot be ruled out.
"But fortunately many of these seismic crises do not lead to volcanic eruptions." Despite all attempts to calm things down, according to the authorities, a total of around 1,250 of the almost 8,400 inhabitants of Sao Jorge have left the island, which is around 1,500 kilometers west of the Portuguese mainland, in the past few days.
The Federal Foreign Office in Berlin issued a warning: "Due to the exceptionally large number of seismic activities on Sao Jorge (Azores) since March 19, 2022, the authorities in the Azores are currently advising against unnecessary trips to Sao Jorge as a precaution." Sao Jorge is visited by relatively few tourists.Keywords: