Seismologists say no indication of "Big One," but civil defense keeps alert level high

A series of small earthquakes in Spain’s Canary Islands has put authorities on alert for a possible volcanic eruption, with one official saying Thursday there is “intense seismic activity” in the area off northwest Africa, the Associated Press reports.

Authorities have detected more than 4,200 temblors in what scientists are calling an “earthquake swarm” around La Palma island since last Saturday. An earthquake swarm is a cluster of quakes in one area during a short period and can indicate an approaching eruption.

But officials said they had no indication an eruption was imminent, and a scientific committee monitoring the activity said that the number of tremors and their magnitude had fallen Thursday.

Even so, the Scientific Committee for the Special Civil Protection Plan and Emergency Response for Volcanic Risks warned there could be a rapid, renewed surge in quakes and kept the public warning level on yellow, according to private Spanish news agency Europa Press.

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