La Palma, complete name would be “La Isla de San Miguel de La Palma”. is one of the youngest islands of the Canary Islands along with El Hierro. The most recent volcanic eruption on land happened there when Teneguia erupted in 1971.
Schteve had a brilliant post on VC Edge driven convection – Bobs back story and Malcolm in the middle. I would suggest to reread it since he describes the development of the Canary Island. The island group does not lie in the center of a moving plate like the Hawaiian Islands. The mechanism which created them is much more complicated than a model of a group of islands slowly developing and crumbling away on a hotspot on top of a mantle plume. Whoever wants to dig deeper into the subject could get information in http://www.atan.org/geologia/articulos/Carracedo1998.pdf a paper Schteve also used in his go on Bob.
Quote Wikipedia: “Like all of the Canary Islands, La Palma originally formed as a seamount through submarine volcanic activity. La Palma is currently the most volcanically active of the Canary Islands and was formed three to four million years ago. Its base lies almost 4,000 m (13,123 ft) below sea level and reaches a height of 2,426 m (7,959 ft) above sea level. About a half a million years ago, the volcano, Taburiente, collapsed with a giant landslide, forming the Caldera de Taburiente. Since the Spanish occupation, there have been seven eruptions:
- 1470-1492 Montaña Quemada
- 1585 Tajuya near El Paso
- 1646 Volcán San Martin
- 1677 Volcán San Antonio
- 1712 El Charco
- 1949 Volcán Nambroque or San Juan: Duraznero, Hoyo Negro and Llano del Banco
- 1971 Volcán Teneguía “
The most prominent volcanic feature, easily visible from air is Caldera de Taburiente in the northern part of the island. An erosion crater with a diameter of 9 km. At the northern rim the highest point of La Palma is situated, Roque de los Muchachos. Aligning towards the south is a mountain chain named Cumbre Nueva and Cumbre Vieja. Though the names suggest differently Cumbre Nueva is geologically older than Cumbre Vieja. The souther tip of the island is were the most recent volcanic activity occurred. At the moment the volcanoes are dormant but they are far from being extinct. In 2000 a BBC documentary suggested that parts of Cumbre Vieja might slip into the ocean in a giant landslide caused by the next volcanic eruption and so create a monster tsunami which would greatly affect the american east coast. Serious geologists think it is unlikely that this event will happen within the coming 10000 years. But it keeps popping up in the media creating hypes.
After continuous seismic activity in the south of the island an eruption started on October 26th 1971. The eruption ended 3 weeks later at 18th of November. Over the next days 5 vents opened and started emitting lava which covered a field of 4km2. In the end the eruptive material was estimated up to 12 million km2. The lava flew into the sea at various different spots creating around 29 hectare of new land and a peak which is 439 meters high. Not really Mount Everest but it took only 3 weeks to build it.
Diary of a volcano in Spanish
The eruption of Teneguia was a social event on La Palma, Islanders gather for picnics while watching the forces of nature.
Caldera de Taburiente:
This feature was not formed by an explosive event but by erosion, starting at the original crater and flowing down the Barranco de las Angustias into the sea. The remains of the debris avalanche now reside in a depth of 2500 to 4000 m below sea level. It´s age is hard to determine, could be between 12500 to 500000 years. Later volcanic activity filled parts of the crater, time and weather eroded the caldera ( which is not really a caldera as we think about calderas here on VC) again. The original volcano is extinct. The highest remains are called Roque de Los Muchachos (2.426 m) Pico de La Cruz (2.351 m) and Pico de La Nieve (2.232 m) In between lie romantic wells and waterfalls bizarre canyon and pine forests in which rare plants keep growing. This makes the national park an ideal place for hikers. Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente was founded in 1954.
Geological maps and graphics explaining the formation along with many beautiful images can be found at http://www.rainer-olzem.de/caldera.html ( a german site)
The recent volcanic activities ( recent meaning in the last 150000 years) all took place in Cumbre Vieja. A chain of mountains with north-south direction is around 20 km long and up to 1950 meter high. The oldest volcanoes are situated in the north, the youngest ones lie in the south. A rather detailed description can be found at http://www.rainer-olzem.de/cumbre.html ( again in german).
Geological map of La Palma
So this is my first take on La Palma, this years holiday destination where we will be enjoying the countryside, the beaches and the food within 2 weeks time.
This week the answers to Matt´s riddles are three volcanoes and two volcanic features. 2 points are awarded for each correct answer, 1 point after a clue was given. Good luck!
– Devil’s Tower (Sissel, 2pt). Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a classic movie, has people going here to meet aliens. Various Native American legends describe children on a rock hiding from a bear, while the bear scrapes the sides with his claws, creating the columns. No one knows whether this was a volcanic pipe or an intrusion.
3) The gods had settled their battles long ago, but the explosive eruption of this volcano changed the tides of a late 18th century war – Kilauea (Dorkviking, 2pt), Pele and Namaka supposedly battled over the islands, ending in a draw that divided them into a dry side and a wet side. A phreatomagmatic explosion killed a war party that was trying to stop the group that would eventually make Hawaii their kingdom. Notably, there is clear evidence for at least six eruptions of this style in the volcano’s history!
4) The entrance to hell; where the blind talk to the dead – Mount Osore (Osorezan) in Japan. (dinojura44, 2pt) Japanese mythology says it’s the entrance to hell. There is an annual festival there where blind mediums supposedly speak to the souls of the dead.
5) The devil is just letting off some steam at the bridge – Devil Mountain Maar or Devil Mountain Lakes (Dorkviking, 2pt). A maar is a steam explosion caused by magma. This is one of the biggest ever on earth. It’s in the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.