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Canary Island Volcanoes

Canary Island Volcanoes

Learn more about the Canary island volcanoes such as the Mount Teide, Teneguia Volcano, Timanfaya Volcano …

The many Canary Island volcanoes and beautiful beaches of theCanary archipelagomake these Spanish volcanic islands a popular tourist destination for visitors from around the world.

The Canary Islands are an archipelago formed of 7 islands and islets located in the Atlantic Ocean near the African coast. The Canary Islands' popularity as a vacation destination sometimes overshadows one of the islands' unique characteristics: their volcanic origin.

The Canary Islands came to be less than 30 million years ago as a result of violent volcanic eruptions that exploded from the oceanic crust. The remains of these volcanic explosions on the Canary Islands were deposited and solidified forming the present day archipelago. Thus, the Canary Islands that we enjoy today are actually underwater volcanoes; some are still active and may erupt again in the future while others are extinct

Luckily today, the Canary Island volcano activity has left us with unique geological features such as high mountains that rise from the sea, spectacular cliffs, landscapes worthy of appearing in a fantasy movie, tunnels and other volcanic rock formations. The volcanoes of the Canary Islands make the archipelago and ideal place for volcanology enthusiasts.

Volcanoes in Tenerife

In the heart of the island of Tenerife is Mount Teide, an ancient volcano that can be seen from other islands, whose summit is covered with snow during most of the year. Mount Teide is the tallest mountain in all of Spain (3718 meters) and the third highest volcano in the world.

Near Mount Teide, the most famous volcano in Tenerife, the Cañadas del Teide unfold. The Cañadas del Teide are calderas, a volcanic feature similar to a crater formed by collapsing land after a volcanic eruption. The landscape here is unique on the Earth, resembling the moon's surface, which is one of the reasons it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. This Canary Island volcanic site has always caught the interest of scholars; from the German botanist Alexander von Humbold in 1799 to more recent NASA investigations in 2012 to test special mission vehicles whose purpose is to search for life on Mars in the near future. The unique terrain of the Cañadas del Teide allow NASA to simulate the alien environment on earth.

The volcanoes in Tenerife have also given rise to other spectacular volcanic phenomena. The Cliffs of the Giants, for example, are solidified remains of up to 600 meters high of ancient lava rivers that flowed into the sea. Furthermore, the Tenerife Wind Caves were also formed by the volcanic activity of the island which formed impressive underground labyrinths.

Volcanoes in Gran Canaria

The last eruption of a volcano in Gran Canaria Island was in prehistoric time. Currently, the most important Gran Canaria volcanic formations are the Nublo Roque, an enormous volcanic rock, and the Bandama caldera, a stunning volcanic crater with endemic flora created by an explosive volcanic process some 4,000-5,000 years ago.

Volcanoes in Lanzarote

On the eastern Canary Island of Lanzarote, we find the famous Timanfaya National Park, a vast terrain of volcanic origin. Of the twenty-five volcanoes of Tenerife, the last one to erupt was the Timanfaya volcano in the 18th century. Timanfaya erupted lava for 6 years, creating the vast area of volcanic formations that make up the park today. Today, hot spots still exist in Timanfaya National Park where the temperature on the surface can reach up to 250ºF and up to 1110ºF 12 meters underground. The volcanic heat reaches the surface via geysers and fumaroles. In fact, a restaurant located in Timanfaya National Park, designed by the local artist Cesar Manrique, uses the natural volcanic heat emitted by Timanfaya to cook.

Volcanoes in La Palma

The island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, famous for its forests, the last recorded volcanic eruption took place in 1971. The eruption produced a new Canary Island volcano called Teneguia Volcano. The volcanoes in La Palma are not found in a specific place but rather are scattered throughout the Cumbre Vieja mountain range. The mountain range crosses La Palma Island from north to south, crossed by a touristic route known as the La Palma Volcano Route.

However, the most important volcanic formation in La Palma is the Caldera de Taburiente; formed by a crater created by an ancient La Palma volcano that collapsed in prehistoric times.

Volcanoes in El Hierro

The most recent volcanic eruption in the Canary Islands took place just off the coast of El Hierro Island, the westernmost island of the Canary archipelago. The eruptions began in October, 2011 and lasted through March 2012, during which time many of the island's inhabitants were forced to abandon their homes. No major damage was caused due to the fact that the El Hierro Volcano is a completely underwater Canary Island volcano.