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Sunday, 23 October 2011


It all started last July 17th 2011, when the seismographs from the National Geographic Institute (IGN), responsible for volcanic surveillance in Spain, recorded unusual seismic activity on the island of El Hierro(one of the 7 Canary Islands) and after many theories and predictions of seismologists about what could happen eventually there was a rash last Friday in the sea next to the coastline in the south of El Hierro island.

The Canary Islands have more than 1,000 km of coastline. Most of the sand on the beach is white, although some in Tenerife is golden, brought from the Sahara desert. There are 140 nature reserves, 4 national parks and hundreds of volcanoes. The Canary Islands is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain during the whole year. Some people describe its weather as the "spring constant".

The Canary Islands are also known as the "Fortunate Isles", the "Garden of the Hesperides" and "Atlantis". In fact, some historians say the legendary continent of Atlantis was located here.

The largest of all the Canary Islands is Tenerife, a combination of tropical
paradise with volcanic landscape. Mount Teide at 3,718 m.,
is the third largest volcano on Earth from its base.

Gran Canaria has some amazing beaches and is a good place to go out,
the nightlife is excellent.
It is famous for its bananas and tomatoes.

Lanzarote is an island scorched by fire which has developed an unprecedented
and unique landscape, difficult to find elsewhere. The similarity to a lunatic
and cosmic landscape is only a matter of miles and dimensions.
It has 300 volcanoes now extinct.

Fuerteventura has the best beaches of all islands and
is very close to the Sahara desert.

La Gomera is a rugged and mountainous terrain, which gives it
a very exotic character. It is advisable to visit the forests of the island,
a natural paradise. It is also protected by the government.

La Palma is called "La Isla Bonita" (the pretty island),
because of its striking beauty.

And El Hierro island, the one most volcanic active in the last days.

The Canary Islands, like most volcanic islands, are buildings that rise from the seabed so that only a small portion protruding from the sea level. This means that we know directly less than 10% of island building. The training process began in the Miocene, 23 million years ago. The oldest islands are La Gomera, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, while younger ones are El Hierro, La Palma and Tenerife. From the late fifteenth century there have been 14 eruptions, the last in 1971 on the island of La Palma (when Teneguia volcano erupted).

El Hierro is the smallest island, south and west of the Canary Islands and is the youngest island, it is only (!!!) 1.2 million years old and is in its first phase of creation (the rest of the islands are in the third). El Hierro is the island with the highest density of volcanoes in the Canary Islands, there are more than 500 opened craters and 300 covered by recent lava flows. Currently there are 70 volcanic caves.

On January 22, 2000 was declared by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve. Currently there is a plan promoted by the Ministry of Development to become the first island in the world in total renewable energy supplies.

Its geography stone and ash is the result of streams of lava that broke the seafloor and then cooled. A process that apparently has not stopped, because after more than 3,000 earthquakes occurred in the last month, has erupted one of the 800 volcanoes that are in this island. However, the rash can take days or years. It is a Stromboli type volcano and this means that there is first a viscous magma output, then the pyroclastic and explosive phases would come eventually, but not with virulence. Although there is a big stock of magma at the bottom of the island.

The current situation in Hierro island is relatively calm, since the system has discharged its energy, but there continues to further input from magma, experts can not say whether the eruption will last several days or several weeks, while the stain is increasingly larger and closer to the coast, the material which is going out is mainly molten basalt, touching the water cools and becomes rock while the turquoise blue of the stain is attributed to sulfur and remobilization of marine clay soil waters become turbulent. Experts are evaluating whether gases can be harmful to people. Nevertheless some species are already suffering the effects of underwater eruptions since they have appeared dead on the surface (this is a great diving area).

this is the stain seen from Deimos-1 satellite
(the stain is already bigger than the island)

The probability is low but it is possible that this huge stain of sulfur finishes in a volcanic island rising.

And there is something that I did not know myself until all this happened and a neighbour of mine told me something curious about this island: it has the smallest hotel in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records. It is the Punta Grande Hotel and rises just above an old pier alone, amid the rough waters of the islands. All its facilities are summarized in just 600 m2 floor area and 9 feet high. It was a former customs office which handled the ships that made the route to America and is decorated with all sorts of references and adventurous sailor, ship scrapping fruit or wrecks, compasses, lanterns, portholes, charts and a wetsuit that introduces the history of this fascinating place.

It only has four bedrooms and they have no telephones, no televisions, and minibars. The perfect place to rest and be in contact with nature. Curiously, one of the rooms has a terrace where you can blown launch rod into the sea. To sleep in it must be something like sleeping on waves.

If you visit Tenerife surely you will be taken to Teide Mountain, formed by eruptions; if you go to Palma you will be taken to visit the Teneguia volcano and if you go to Lanzarote, you will be taken to visit Timanfaya volcano, a devil with flames where you will see to roast a chicken in the hole of a rock boiling. And perhaps in your next visit to Hierro island you will be taken by some tours guide to visit a new little island or a new volcano to be visited, who knows it?

By the way, I have to confess you something that I would not like to get out from this blog, and it is that despite having traveled to quite a few countries in Europe and around the world (I have traveled to China, the United States and Canada, for example) I haven’t been yet to the Canary Islands! but hopefully next year I will try to solve out this, without fail!


  1. I´d love to know the island of hierro. I know the island of Tenerife, Canary and Lanzarote are very interesting, because they have a different landscape to the peninsula.
    Now the inhabitants of the island of Hierro, are very scared, because a volcano eruption can end their lives, have beuaty on the one part, but then not happy with volcanes awake.

  2. MADRILEÑA, you are luckier than me, because I haven't been to any of the Canary Islands! I hope to go next year and I do not mind visiting anyone of the seven islands.

    Related to El Hierro island, I would not like to live there either, without knowing what can happen next, it must not be very reassuring to live there at the moment. Where I would really like to go when the island returns to normal is the Punta Grande Hotel, that must be a wonderful and very relaxing place with such beautiful sights to enjoy from your bedroom (one of the four bedrooms jejeje!).

    Many hugs and kisses,

  3. We went to Tenerife just last year - I am so surprised to hear the sand is imported from the Sahara! Fascinating! And to think we could see the building of a new volcanic island during our lifetime - too cool. I can't wait to tell my son about it and the stain - he'll find it to be really interesting. A truly, wonderful post :) Thank you for sharing :)

  4. Hello Laura, your are lucky as well, everybody has been to Canary Islands, but me jejeje! Thanks for your visit and comment and have a lovely week ahead,

  5. Hey Nieves, I went to Fuerteventura where the Island of the Strong Wind also has sand from the Sahara, but it has been blown across the ocean! It is wild to have to add the Canaries to your Must See in Spain list! I hope you get to go soon!

  6. Ashleigh, I really MUST go next year to the Canary Islands! I am glad you visited and liked Fuerteventura, I really would like to visit all of them but I am afraid I won't afford it because of lack of money and time reasons!

    By the way I have already added your suggestion to the Must See in Spain list, thanks for it! Have a lovely week ahead!

  7. Just breathtaking. So nice to see you and your blog are going strong. I think I'm giving to this blogging another shot. Hope to see you around :)

  8. Ivanhoe, I am so happy to see you are around here again! Welcome back! I hope everything has got fine for you and your husband during these last months. I will go to visit your blog as soon as possible! See you there!

  9. Me encanta las Islas Canarias y Fuerteventura es mi favorito. Bellas imágenes!

  10. Hola Lalla, ¡bienvenida por aqui y gracias por dejar tu comentario! Un abrazo,

  11. When I see such beautiful places in the world, I realize how small I am and how I need grow to see and learn .... I wish I had wings. Today I only have wings in the imagination.


  12. Sissy, imagination is strong enough sometimes my friend! Lovely Sunday!

  13. Thank you for this wonderful introduction to the Canary Islands! I would love to visit Tenerife and Fuerteventura for the stunning beaches. Is it expensive to stay on the islands?

  14. Firstly, I am sorry Lori for the delay in my reply. Thanks for leaving your nice comment. I strongly encourage you to visit the Canary Islands, all the people who has been there is quite enthusiastic about them, but as I have told before I haven't been either and that is something I want to solve out this year probably!

    And about the price, no, it is not expensive at all, there are quite a few promotions to travel there and stay in wonderful hotels not expensive at all.

    If you finally go, will you please be so kind to come back here and tell me all about it?

    Kindest regards,


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