Quakes spark volcano alert in the Canary Islands

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El Hierro volcanoGetty

Around 50 holidaymakers and residents have been evacuated from the base of a volcano in the Canary Islands.

The island of El Hierro is on high alert as experts have recorded an increase in activity in the Lomo Negro volcano following a series of earthquakes.

Since July, more than 8,000 earthquake tremors have been recorded, most too small to notice, but in the last week the tremors have been felt all over the island with the strongest recorded at 3.8 on the Richter scale.

Schools on El Hierro, home to 10,000 people, have been closed and a tunnel linking its two main towns has been shut.

Volcano expert Juan Carlos Carrecedo said: "There is a ball of magma rising to the surface producing a series of ruptures which generate seismic activity." He warned that an eruption was possible "in days, weeks or months".

El Hierro has become popular with Britons looking for a peaceful sunshine break away from bustle of neighbouring islands such as Tenerife and Lanzarote.

The last eruption from the Lomo Negro volcano in El Hierro was in 1793 and the lava flows lasted for a month.