Volcanic activity on Spain's El Hierro island has resumed far below the Earth's surface in a similar manner to last July, albeit slightly stronger, the director of the National Geographic Institute, or IGN, in the Canary Islands, Maria Jose Blanco, told Efe on Sunday.

Blanco said that a peak of seismic activity is under way, a continuation of the volcanic process - a shifting of magma many kilometers (miles) under ground - that began in July 2011 which, although the main activity ended at the time with an undersea eruption, that did not mean that the overall activity had come to a definitive conclusion.

The IGN official said that at present it is not expected that the seismic movements that have been registered - which have occurred at depths of some 20 kilometers (about 12.5 miles) - exceed 3.2 on the Richter scale, a fairly low level.

Blanco could not specify how long this new round of activity would last, although she did say that seismic peaks like the current one would, in all likelihood, continue to occur.

Therefore, she said, the IGN is studying the idea of convening the scientific committee of the Civil Protection Plan for Volcanic Risk in the Canaries after this reactivation in the depths of the El Hierro volcano, where over the past three days more than 330 minor seismic movements have been registered.

Officials with the regional government of the Canaries told Efe that experts had verified "an acceleration of released seismic energy accompanied by deformations" in underground structures.

For the present, the largest movement registered so far was the one measured at 3.2 on the Richter scale, which was felt on Saturday for some 13 hours and 15 minutes by the residents of the municipality of El Pinar, according to IGN data. EFE