The legendary Ibiza outcrop Es Vedra has recently given cause for alarm to scientists who have always considered the volcano to be long dormant, with geological evidence suggesting its last eruption to have been in excess of 10,000 years ago.
However, Professor Juan Broma and his Valencia University based team of the Institut Geológico de Baleares have recently discovered a vast and highly active magma chamber beneath Es Vedra. The first evidence came during February when reports were logged of smoke being seen coming from vents on the island. Professor Broma thinks that recent oil exploration drilling by South American petroleum giant Enga Nar is the catalyst for what he feels could be a disastrous problem.
“The one thing I am sure of is there will be an eruption,” warns Professor Broma. “It could be in a week, a month a year or five years. What I am not sure about is the size of the eruption. It could wipe out an area from Figueretes, around the west coast past Playa den Bossa and up to and beyond San Antonio. Clearly it will be nothing like the size of the Icelandic eruption in 2010 but that was in an area historically known as being volcanically active and accordingly, scarcely populated.”
The team has been given unlimited funding by both central government and Govern Baleares to solve the problem. Ecology Minister Avril Ribas says, “This could obviously have a catastrophic effect on the tourist industry, to say nothing of the damage to homes in the blast area. It is a race against time.”
The plan is for engineers to drill holes in key area of the island to release the pressure in the magma chamber. One of these will be behind Las Salinas beach and another just along from Blue Marlin. Minister Ribas continues, “We have tried to locate these pressure vents away from tourist areas as we don’t know how much magma will be released. Unfortunately the location of these vents is dependent on the geology and terrain of the island.”
If businesses are affected then they can expect a long and drawn out compensation battle as there is no caveat in existing insurance policies to cover such an event.